According to new audio recordings, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., feared that remarks by fellow Republican lawmakers could jeopardize the safety of other GOP members of Congress after the Jan. 6 riot.
The recordings of a Jan. 10, 2021 call obtained by The New York Times shine a new light on McCarthy's private concerns about members of his own caucus at a time when his public appearances downplayed those worries.
In the newly released audio, McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. Several Republicans in Congress were cited by them as potential threats to other GOP lawmakers.
Both McCarthy and Scalise have raised concerns about Republican Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama, who spoke at a rally on Jan. 6 before the riot, and Matt Gaetz of Florida.
McCarthy said he was putting the people in jeopardy because he criticized Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. We saw what people would do in the Capitol, and these people came prepared with rope, with everything else. Scalise suggested that Gaetz was crossing legal bounds.
McCarthy also criticised Brooks, who told a pro-Trump crowd on January 6 that today is the day American patriots start taking names and kicking ass. McCarthy suggested in the tapes that Brooks comments were almost something that goes further than what the president said. While gaetz and Brooks appeared to be the focal points of McCarthy and Scalise's discussions, they also raised concerns about Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Barry Moore of Alabama and Louie Gohmert of Texas.
McCarthy's comments on the tapes are the latest in a string of leaks, including text messages, from the period after the November 2020 election and the days surrounding the Jan. 6 riot. In a previous recording, McCarthy said that former President Donald Trump was responsible for the violence on January 6 and that he would advise the president to resign.
If Republicans win the House in November, McCarthy will need the support of his caucus to hold the top position, and he's going to need the support of his caucus to hold the top position. A 2 House Republican is seen as a contender for speaker.
This is the behavior of weak men, not leaders, he said.
The conference was hampered by the comments of McCarthy in an OAN interview, according to Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz. On Tuesday, Tucker Carlson, a Fox News personality, said that Republicans needed to act quickly in order to stop McCarthy from seizing the speaker's gavel to avoid a Republican Congress led by a puppet of the Democratic Party. NBC News reached out to McCarthy and Scalise for comment.