CNN  — 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tried to rewrite history on Thursday by claiming that he was not involved in former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election in a heated exchange during a news briefing.

When asked by CNN’s Manu Raju why it was acceptable for him to support Trump’s efforts to overturn the presidential election in Congress but to criticize Democrats for doing the same in a contested Iowa US House race, McCarthy repeatedly rejected the notion that he was trying to overturn the election at all.

“You’re saying something that is not true,” the California Republican said when Raju stated that Trump had tried to overturn the election results in Congress and McCarthy supported that effort.

McCarthy’s explanation flies in the face of reality. Trump tried to pressure Congress to overturn the election and McCarthy raised no concerns about it. He also backed a Texas lawsuit to invalidate millions of votes, and ultimately voted in favor of overturning the election results of two states during votes that took place after the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

The exchange comes as McCarthy has sought to maintain a relationship with Trump while steering a party whose establishment is wary of allowing the former President to dictate the Republican path forward. McCarthy met with Trump in January to discuss strategy for winning the House majority in next year’s midterm elections.

Sources told CNN at the time that Trump was focusing his political energy on targeting Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House Republican, who had voted for his impeachment earlier that month.

McCarthy refused to say whether he endorsed Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, and did not say why he hadn’t spoken out against those efforts at the time if he didn’t support them.

“I’m not Donald Trump,” McCarthy told Raju.

McCarthy tried to make the case that he was objecting to only two states, Arizona and Pennsylvania, which he argued would ultimately not have changed the outcome of the election. McCarthy said he stood by his support of the Texas lawsuit that tried to overturn election results, telling Raju, “The answer is yes and you know why, because that’s where you go: to the courts.”

CNN’s Ali Main, Michael Warren, Devon Sayers, Jamie Gangel and Ryan Nobles contributed to this report.