Kevin McCarthy said Donald Trump admitted that he bore some of the responsibility for the attack on the Capitol last Jan. 6.
The revelation comes in audio Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin obtained while writing their new book This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future. CNN broadcast the audio Friday morning.
“Let me be very clear to all of you, and I have been very clear to the president: He bears responsibility for his words and actions. No ifs, ands, or buts,” McCarthy said during a House Republican Conference call last Jan. 11. “I asked him personally today if he holds responsibility for what happened, if he feels bad for what happened, and he told me he does have some responsibility for what happened, and he needed to acknowledge that.”
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McCarthy in additional audio said he was done with Trump after the attack. “I’ve had it with this guy,” he said. “What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend it, and nobody should defend it.”
McCarthy’s tough talk about the former president in the wake of Jan. 6 is borderline comical considering the degree to which he and the rest of the party has since cowered from holding Trump accountable for the attack. McCarthy even went to Mar-a-Lago to kiss Trump’s ring and pose for a picture with the newly former president just weeks after the attack. A year later, this January, McCarthy said he had no recollection of the call.
Burns and Martin released the audio after McCarthy vehemently denied a report from The New York Times about his criticism of Trump following the attack. McCarthy in a tweet on Thursday said the report was “totally false and wrong.” Burns responded Thursday night be releasing audio of McCarthy that corroborated their reporting, in which McCarthy told Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) that he planned to suggest to Trump that he should resign.
The Washington Post reported on Friday that McCarthy and Trump spoke Wednesday night after the audio was leaked, and that Trump was not upset. Instead, the Post notes, he was delighted by his “continued grip on the Republican Party.”
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