The House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy told a Republican lawmaker he would recommend to the then-President Donald Trump not to resign, according to audio from a call obtained by MSNBC and aired Thursday night.
McCarthy can be heard saying something to Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo, on the Jan. 10, 2021 call. He planned to tell the president he should step down after the attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.
McCarthy, R-Calif., also indicated that he believed that impeachment would succeed in the House and possibly Senate.
The only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation to resign, McCarthy said in audio that aired on The Rachel Maddow Show. The New York Times previously reported the contents of the call, which will be included in the forthcoming book This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America s Future, by Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns, due out May 3.
McCarthy denied the Times report, calling it totally false and wrong in a statement on Twitter.
The Times later included audio of the call.
On the call, Cheney can be heard asking McCarthy about the possibility of resignation.
Is there any reason to think that might happen? McCarthy said he had had a few discussions, and he was planning to call Trump later that night, but he was doubtful that Trump would walk away. McCarthy says that but what I think I'm going to do is I'm going to call him.
This is what I think: We know that it will pass the House. There's a chance that it will pass the Senate, even when he is gone, says McCarthy, apparently referring to an impeachment resolution.
NBC News reached out to McCarthy and Cheney's offices for comment on the new audio.
If Republicans win back control of the House in November, McCarthy's path to the speakership could be complicated by the revelations. He will likely need Trump's support to secure the speaker's givel if there is a GOP majority.
He said on the House floor that Trump is responsible for the attack on Congress by mob rioters, and should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was going on, three days after McCarthy's phone call with Cheney. He said Trump needs to accept his share of responsibility, to quell the brewing unrest and ensure President-elect Joe Biden is able to start his term. But by the following week McCarthy had reversed course, telling reporters: I don't believe he provoked it, if you listen to what he said at the rally on Jan. 6. Days later, McCarthy met with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, attempting to repair their relationship.