BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — New reporting from the New York Times says Congress’ top two Republican leaders — including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) — wanted former President Donald Trump out of office after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
McCarthy denies the reporting, but if true, it goes much further than what the House Minority Leader expressed publicly when it comes to how he felt about the former president’s role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
In a now infamous speech on the House Floor a week after the attack, McCarthy said former President Trump bore some responsibility for what took place that day.
“He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding,” McCarthy said. “These facts require immediate action by President Trump.”
On Jan. 13, 2021, McCarthy told 17 News Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 and the speech he gave at his rally ahead of the Capitol attack did not warrant impeachment.
“The President, if you watch his speech, he even uses the word peaceful so it doesn’t rise to the occasion of impeachment,” he said.
But new reporting from the New York Times paints a much starker picture of McCarthy’s views on Trump’s handling of the Capitol attack than what the House Minority Leader said publicly.
According to the report, McCarthy told Republican leaders in a phone call on Jan. 8 that Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 were “atrocious and totally wrong,” even inquiring about using the 25th Amendment to remove the President from office.
On Jan. 10 the New York Times report says McCarthy told GOP lawmakers he would tell Trump to resign.
In a statement McCarthy said: “The New York Times’ reporting on me is totally false and wrong. It comes as no surprise that corporate media is obsessed with doing everything it can to further a liberal agenda.”
The report notes that McCarthy’s perspective on the former President shifted in the weeks following Jan. 6, when McCarthy visited Trump at Trump’s personal residence Mar-a-Lago, a sign the two were untied again after McCarthy’s brief rebuke of the former president.
Just last month, the House Minority Leader did not give a clear answer when 17 News asked him if he agreed with former President Trump about pardoning those convicted for their role on Jan. 6, something Trump expressed he was open to.
“I’ve talked about Jan. 6 that happened more than a year ago many times, but that’s not what the American public is most concerned about,” McCarthy said.
This reporting is part of a new book about the 2020 presidential campaign. In his statement, McCarthy said if the reporters were interested in the truth, they would have reached out to him for comment before the book was printed.