House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California rebutted reports on leaked audio where he said he would call on former President Trump to resign after the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, with Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., denying involvement in the leak.
On Thursday, the New York Times reported on a recording from Jan. 10, 2021 where McCarthy reportedly told House Republican leadership that he had “had it” with Trump and that he was going to recommend the then-president “resign.”
“I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign,” McCarthy explained what he would tell Trump in the audio recording published by the Times, referring to the impeachment resolution.
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According to the recording, the Republican leader said that it was not likely that Trump would listen to his suggestion and that nobody can defend the then-president’s actions on January 6 “and nobody should defend it.”
McCarthy rebutted the Times reporting as “totally false and wrong” in a Twitter statement released Thursday morning, hours ahead of the published recordings.
“It comes as no surprise that the corporate media is obsessed with doing everything it can to further a liberal agenda,” the statement reads. “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?”
“The past year and a half have proven that our country was better off when President Trump was in the White House and rather than address the real issues facing Americans, the corporate media is more concerned with profiting from manufactured political intrigue from politically-motivated sources,” it continues.
“Our country has suffered enough under one-party Democrat rule and no amount of media ignorance and bias will stop Americans from delivering a clear message this fall that it is time for change,” McCarthy added.
The Times’ report also said that McCarthy called Trump’s actions on January 6 “atrocious and totally wrong” in a call with Republicans on January 8, and reportedly floated the idea of getting certain lawmakers banned from social media.
McCarthy spokesperson Mark Bednar pushed back on the reporting, telling the Times that “McCarthy never said he’d call Trump to say he should resign” and that the leader also “never said that particular members should be removed from Twitter.”
The story kicked the speculation machine of Capitol Hill into overdrive, with Washington being abuzz with who might have leaked the call.
Many theorize that the leak stemmed from Republican leadership, with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., blaming Cheney in an early Thursday tweet, but so far the top GOP officials who would have been on the call have denied involvement.
Cheney’s office denied they were the source of the leak, with a spokesperson telling Punchbowl News that Cheney “did not record or leak the tape and does not know how the reporters got it.”
Lauren Fine, the spokeswoman for House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, told Fox News Digital that neither Scalise nor any of his staffers leaked the audio.
“Millions of American are suffering right now under President Biden and Speaker Pelosi’s big-government socialist agenda that has given us record high inflation, with skyrocketing gas prices and a border crisis, yet the only thing the Democrat media continues to obsess over is January 6th,” Fine said.
“Whip Scalise’s sole focus is on working with his colleagues to stop the radical Democrat agenda,” she continued. “Neither he nor anyone on his team recorded or leaked private conversations among members.”
Additionally, the timing of the leak raises questions, as well.
McCarthy is the GOP front-runner to take over the speakership should Republicans take back the House in November, which is decided by internal elections in Congress.
Elections for Speaker of the House tend to happen on the first day of a new Congress — January 3 — which means if the leak was an attempt to sink McCarthy’s run for speaker, it came incredibly early.
Fox News’ Kelly Laco contributed to this report.