Kevin McCarthy: 'I Know Who Recorded' Private Remarks About Trump, Jan. 6 House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Friday, 16 September 2022 08:46 AM EDT
House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said he knows who was behind the leaked audio of his comments critical of then-President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 2021 attack at the Capitol.
"I know who recorded it. I know who recorded me," McCarthy told Politico this week.
The leader added: "I'll bring it forward" at some point. "I have it."
McCarthy made the leaked comments on a conference call with a small group of Republican leaders and staff members.
The New York Times, citing the audio, reported in April that McCarthy told members of his GOP conference that Trump acknowledged he bore "some responsibility" for what happened on Jan. 6.
"Let me be very clear to all of you, and I have been very clear to the president: He bears responsibilities for his words and actions," McCarthy said during a Jan. 11, 2021 conference call, the Times reported. "No if, ands, or buts.
"I asked him personally today: Does he hold responsibility for what happened? Does he feel bad about what happened? He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened and he'd need to acknowledge that."
The Times said the audio included McCarthy saying, "I've had it with this guy [Trump]. What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it."
The newspaper also reported that McCarthy, at the time, told his leadership team that he would call Trump and urge him to quit.
Politico reported that McCarthy avoided major blowback, and apparently smoothed over things quickly with Trump.
House Republicans "shrugged off the entire matter," Politico said, with Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., saying the tapes were a "nothingburger" taken "completely out of context."
Several weeks after the attack, McCarthy sounded more understanding about Trump.
"I was the first person to contact [Trump] when the riots" were underway, McCarthy told Fox News. "He didn't see it. [How] he ended the call was saying — telling me, he'll put something out to make sure to stop this. And that's what he did. He put a video out later."
McCarthy appears to be in line to become majority leader if the Republicans regain control of the House in November.