One secret recording where McCarthy talks to Liz Cheney has leaked. We can hear that McCarthy wanted to tell Trump to resign, which happened on January 10, 2021.
“I think [impeachment resolutions] will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign,” McCarthy said he would tell Trump before further adding, “What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it.”
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Liz Cheney pressed McCarthy and told him that it might be better for Trump to decide on his own. “Is there any chance? Are you hearing that he might resign? Is there any reason to think that might happen?”
The minority leader stated that this was a topic that he had had a few discussions about. “My gut tells me no,” he said. “I’m seriously thinking of having that conversation with him tonight…Um, from what I know of him, I mean, you guys all know him too. Do you think he’d ever back away? But what I think I’m going to do, is I’m going to call him.”
The Washington Post reported that Trump and McCarthy talked this Thursday evening once the audio leaked.
The Washington Post reported:
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) hold on his status as the presumptive next GOP speaker was already tenuous. And on Thursday it seemed like it could slip further.
But how much?
For now, McCarthy appears to have avoided blowback from the top of the party. Many Republicans seem to be waiting for a cue from Trump about how to respond, though some have weighed in to defend or criticize McCarthy.
And The Post reports he spoke with Trump after the audio of the call was released, and Trump was not upset — indeed, he was even happy that McCarthy hadn’t followed through on what he had said privately.
Trump has been more accommodating of McCarthy than McConnell. They soon patched things up after McCarthy publicly blamed Trump for not quelling the Jan. 6 riot and even floated a historic censure resolution against Trump. McCarthy has also been more solicitous of Trump than McConnell has. And that could matter for the fate of his career.
Recent history is instructive when it comes to those with whom Trump is willing to reconcile.
On the one hand, Trump has been willing to overlook past criticisms — even harsh ones — provided the lawmaker in question proceeds to display the requisite obsequiousness. Trump recently endorsed Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance despite Vance having sharply criticized him in 2016 as unfit to be president.
And indeed, part of the reason Trump was reportedly not upset Thursday night was that McCarthy’s retreat showed the strength of Trump’s grip on the party.