House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was recently outed by The New York Times and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow after denying he wanted then-President Donald Trump to resign following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Subsequent reports noted that in the hours that followed, McCarthy spoke to Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort by phone and appeared to indicate that things had been worked out between them.
Likewise with the members of the House Republican Conference, who reportedly gave him a standing ovation this week ahead of a meeting.
Standing ovation and Kevin will be speaker,” Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., said to reporters.
“Yes,” Rep. Jay Obernolte, R-Calif., said when asked by Fox News Digital about the ovation.
“He addressed them and I think the conference is satisfied,” Obernolte added of what McCarthy said about the tapes.
But now, the minority leader appears to be in hot water again, according to the contents of an audio recording reported by The Hill:
New audio recordings of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaking critically of some of his colleagues after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol are raising new questions about his future leadership of the conference.
The recordings — taken during a call with members of House GOP leadership on Jan. 10, 2021, and obtained by The New York Times for an upcoming book — illustrate frustrations the minority leader had with remarks from conservative members of his conference.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), the No. 2 House Republican, also offers critical remarks of various members.
“These members on either, whatever position you are, calling out other members, that stuff’s got to stop, especially in this nature,” McCarthy said on the call.
“Tension is too high. The country is too crazy. I do not want to look back and think we caused something or we missed something and someone got hurt. I don’t want to play politics with any of that,” he added.
Specifically, McCarthy named four GOP lawmakers: Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas; Mo Brooks of Alabama; and Barry Moore, also of Alabama.
McCarthy on the Jan. 10 call claimed that Gaetz was “putting people in jeopardy” with his remarks following the Capitol riot. McCarthy was specifically concerned about remarks that Gaetz made regarding Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), who now faces a serious primary challenge in her state thanks to a Trump-backed candidate.
“He doesn’t need to be doing this,” McCarthy said of Gaetz. “We saw what people would do in the Capitol, you know, and these people came prepared with rope, with everything else.”
Scalise also chimed in.
“It’s potentially illegal what he’s doing,” the No. 2 House Republican said.
McCarthy focused on remarks that Brooks made at a rally that preceded the riot, including when he said “today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”
“You think the president deserves to be impeached? Well his comments, that’s almost something that goes further than what the president said,” the minority leader said.
“I’ve heard some members talk about bringing Mo up at Steering Committee to possibly strip him of committees, kind of in the vein of Steve King. So I would imagine this will definitely come up at Steering Committee,” Scalise said.
Moore wrote several tweets in the days after the riot that concerned GOP members.
In one of his posts, which has since been deleted but was captured by reporter Jamie Dupree, the Alabama lawmaker wrote, “Wow we have more arrests for stealing a podium on January 6th than we do for stealing an election on November 3rd! Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Detroit, would be places I recommend you start; there is video of evidence of these crimes as well! #ElectionIntegrityMatters.”
Moore also mentioned the accounts of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and NARAL Pro-Choice America, writing, “I Understand it was a black police officer that shot the white female veteran . You know that doesn’t fit the narrative,” likely a reference to the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 riot by a Capitol Police officer.
After being told about the Alabama Republican’s tweets, McCarthy said, “Can’t they take their Twitter accounts away too?”
The No. 1 and 2 GOP leaders also discussed comments Gohmert had made around the time of the riot.
“And Louie said, like, we need to fight or something, right? Didn’t he say something a couple days out that was horrendous?” McCarthy said.
“There was something like that, yes. It was incendiary,” Scalise said.
After mentioning remarks from Brooks and Gohmert, McCarthy said: “Our members have got to start paying attention to what they say, too, and you can’t put up with that type of shit.”