Just days after the Jan. 6 riot, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy told a fellow Republican lawmaker he would recommend then-President Donald Trump resign, according to audio of a call. shared with MSNBC and aired Thursday night.
During the Jan. 10, 2021, call, McCarthy can be heard telling Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., that he planned to tell the president he should step down following the violent attack on the Capitol by a crowd of Trump supporters.
McCarthy, R-Calif., also indicated he believes impeachment will succeed in the House and possibly the Senate.
“The only discussion I would have with him is that I think it will pass, and I would recommend that you quit,” McCarthy said in an audio broadcast on “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
The New York Times reported on Thursday the content of the call, which is included in the upcoming book “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future,” by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, due out on May 3.
McCarthy denied the Times report, calling it “totally untrue and untrue” in a statement on Twitter.
The Times later shared the audio of the call with MSNBC.
On the call, Cheney can be heard asking McCarthy about the possibility of a resignation.
“Do you hear that he might resign? Is there any reason to think this could happen? Cheney asks.
McCarthy replies that he “had a few talks,” adding that he planned to call Trump later that night, but doubted Trump would “ever go away.”
“But what I think I’m going to do is I’m going to call it,” McCarthy said.
“This is what I think: We know it will pass the House. I think there’s a chance it will pass the Senate, even after he’s gone,” McCarthy said, apparently referring to an impeachment resolution.
NBC News has reached out to McCarthy’s and Cheney’s offices to comment on the new audio.
Cheney’s spokesperson said in a statement that the Jan. 6 committee “has asked Kevin McCarthy to speak to us about these events, but he has so far declined. Representative Cheney has not recorded or disclosed the tape and don’t know how reporters got it.”
The revelations could complicate McCarthy’s path to the presidency if Republicans regain control of the House in November’s midterm elections. He’ll likely need Trump’s backing to secure the president’s gavel if there’s a GOP majority.
Three days after McCarthy’s phone call with Cheney, he told the House that Trump “bears responsibility” for the “rioter’s attack on Congress” and “should have immediately denounced the crowd when he saw this that was happening”.
He went on to say that Trump “must accept his share of responsibility, quell the unrest that is brewing, and ensure that President-elect Joe Biden is able to begin his term successfully.”
But the following week, McCarthy backtracked, telling reporters, “I don’t believe he provoked it, if you listen to what he said at the rally” on January 6. A few days later, McCarthy met Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, seeking to mend their relationship.
Haley Talbot and Kyle Stewart contributed.