House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was outed as a blatant liar when audio of him saying that then-President Donald Trump was responsible for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and should be pushed out of politics emerged publicly last week. The contents of the recording were first reported by The New York Times in a piece adapted from the upcoming tell-all book, “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future.”
In response to the Times’ report, McCarthy tweeted: “The New York Times’ reporting on me is totally false and wrong.”
Fallout over the McCarthy tape seemed to breathe new life into the most ardent pro-Trump corners of the GOP
But the recording categorically refutes his denials.
The audio, from Jan. 10, 2021, aired on “The Rachel Maddow Show,“ following publication of the Times story. In it, McCarthy can be heard telling fellow Republican leaders, including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, that he was going to ask Trump to resign.
Fallout over the McCarthy tape seemed to breathe new life into the most ardent pro-Trump corners of the GOP, which believe that McCarthy should be replaced as House party leader by the far more Trumpy Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan. Many of Trump’s staunchest supporters in the House had already had enough of McCarthy’s leadership well before this latest controversy.
Replying to a Fox News contributor calling McCarthy a RINO (a Republican in Name Only) after the audio was made public, embattled pro-MAGA Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz tweeted that Jordan was “the hardest working and most talented member of the Republican House Conference. And every member knows it.”
Unsurprisingly, Democrats responded with a mix of astonishment and elation when many learned of McCarthy being caught in a new series of bald-faced lies, thanks to another truth-bearing audio recording. (This also happened to him in 2017.)
Many pundits on the left erroneously leapt to the conclusion that such an overt abrogation of moral principle as the highest-ranking Republican in the House would be, in a practical sense, disqualifying for someone harboring ambitions to become speaker and third in line to the White House next year if the Republicans, as many predict, take back control of the House.
Many Democrats also felt a certain sense of schadenfreude as they mused about the vexing political position McCarthy must have found himself having been outed — in a rare moment of pellucid candor — as being disloyal to Trump, raising questions about whether he could even survive in his party.
But Democrats should be careful what they wish for, as McCarthy’s potential demise isn’t necessarily a good thing when considering the alternative.