(The Hill) – House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told colleagues that he’d “had it” with former President Trump, according to recordings of House GOP calls in the days after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
The calls also show that McCarthy claimed Trump took some responsibility for the riot.
The recordings back up reporting in The New York Times, adapted from the upcoming book “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future,” that McCarthy had vehemently denied on Thursday morning. The report revealed top Republican leaders going farther in bashing Trump than previously reported.
McCarthy told House GOP leadership colleagues in a Jan. 10, 2021, call that he had “had it” with Trump.
“Alright, I know this is not fun, I know this is not great. I know this is very tough. But what I want to do, especially through here, is I don’t want to rush things. I want everybody to have all the information needed. I’ve had it with this guy. What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it,” McCarthy said in the recording of the call, first released on CNN Friday morning.
CNN also released a recording from a Jan. 11, 2021, House GOP conference call with a much larger group of House Republicans in which McCarthy said that Trump took some responsibility for the Capitol attack.
“But let me be very clear to all of you, and I’ve been very clear to the president: He bears responsibility for his words and actions. No ifs, ands or buts. I asked him personally today, does he hold responsibility for what happened? Does he feel bad about what happened?” McCarthy said. “He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. And he need to acknowledge that.”
Reporting at the time had described some of those McCarthy comments to the conference. But a year later, in January 2022, McCarthy said in a press conference that he did not remember making the remark.
That remark is of interest to the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6, which has asked McCarthy to voluntarily speak to the panel about that remark and what it says about Trump’s state of mind on Jan. 6.
This is the second drop of recordings of McCarthy making damning statements critical of Trump. On Thursday night, Times reporters and co-authors Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns released a recording of another part of the Jan. 10 call that validated their reporting that McCarthy had told leadership colleagues he would recommend to Trump that he resign if impeached, which McCarthy and a spokesman also specifically denied.
“What I think I’m going to do, is I’m going to call him,” McCarthy said, saying that he thought an impeachment resolution would pass the House and have a chance in the Senate. “The only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign. I mean, that would be my take, but I don’t think he would take it. But I don’t know.”
McCarthy, who is aiming to be Speaker of the House if Republicans win control of the chamber in this year’s midterm elections, has not responded to the recording refuting his denials.
The Republican leader showed some outward public criticism of Trump in the aftermath of Jan. 6. While arguing against impeachment, he said on the House floor on Jan. 13 that Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack.
McCarthy’s declaration that he “had it” with Trump was quickly reversed. About two weeks later at the end of January 2021, McCarthy visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago.