New audio of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy released on Thursday night reveals he did consider asking then-President Donald Trump to resign in the days after the January 6 riot – contradicting his office’s earlier denials of New York Times reporting that he had done so.
In the audio, which was obtained by the Times and first played on MSNBC Thursday evening, McCarthy is heard answering a question from Rep. Liz Cheney – then a member of GOP leadership – about whether there was any chance Trump would resign. McCarthy says, “My gut tells me no. I am seriously thinking about having that conversation with him tonight.”
“The only discussion I would have with him is I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation that he should resign,” McCarthy says, referring to the impeachment resolution in the House. “That would be my take, but I don’t think he would take it. But I don’t know.” CNN has obtained only a portion of the audio.
A spokesperson for Cheney said in a statement that the House select committee investigating the insurrection “has asked Kevin McCarthy to speak with us about these events but he has so far declined. Representative Cheney did not record or leak the tape and does not know how the reporters got it.”
CNN has reached out to McCarthy’s office for comment.
McCarthy had issued a lengthy statement earlier Thursday, before the audio was released, saying that the Times reporting was “totally false and wrong.” The reporting is part of Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin’s forthcoming book, “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future.”
“The New York Times reporting on me is totally false and wrong. It comes as no surprise that the corporate media is obsessed with doing everything it can to further a liberal agenda,” McCarthy said. “This promotional book tour is no different. If the reporters were interested in truth why would they ask for comment after the book was printed?”
Manu Raju contributed to this report.