‘Nobody cares’: House GOP erases McCarthy’s Trump-tape flap

“It’s a distraction that some New York Times reporters would rather report on things Americans don’t care about, instead of focusing on what’s causing inflation, which is the reckless spending These guys. Those are the issues. The tape isn’t.

With Trump himself also seeming to revel in the power he wielded through the McCarthy tape episode, its effect on the California Republican’s future speaking prospects seems questionable so far. While other factors could still affect the strength of McCarthy’s grip on the gavel if his party regains the House next year, even some Trump allies who voted to block certification of President Joe Biden’s victory in 2020 were not discouraged.

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who is also close to McCarthy, simply said “I’m all for Donald Trump being the next president and Kevin McCarthy being the next speaker.”

Still, not all Republicans are ready to let the episode fade. McCarthy’s tapes could be easy ammunition for Republicans who want to press McCarthy for concessions or for new conference members who want to make a name for themselves with the party base ready to challenge leadership.

Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who chaired the Trump-allied House Freedom Caucus until January, told the conservative One America News Network that McCarthy’s comments in the audio were “undermining” colleagues who had voted for. oppose the election.

Biggs added to OANN that McCarthy was not “outspoken” with other House Republicans that a possible call for Trump’s resignation was being considered, and also rapped about the GOP leader’s taped remarks on the removal of some Trump vocal acolytes from social media.

Still, few Republicans were ready to criticize their leader when they returned to the Capitol on Tuesday night, their first in-person rally since the New York Times’ bombshell report last Thursday.

Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, argued that the audio was a “nothingburger” that was taken “completely out of context.”

“They were talking about whether they had the impeachment hearings, and he was impeached,” Rogers said of Trump. McCarthy, he added, was simply offering a recommendation for Trump to step down before Democrats successfully remove him from the White House.

In early January 2021, at the time of McCarthy’s taped call, some House Republicans were betting that the Senate might vote to convict Trump.

“It’s all inside baseball. Not a single voter raised that question with me,” Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) said of McCarthy’s tape as he left a meeting of senior Republican officials.

“Nobody talks about it,” Davis added. “And frankly, I can’t wait for President McCarthy to be sworn in.”

The Times’ initial report on McCarthy’s post-insurgency comments — followed a day later by the release of audio of a private GOP meeting — rocked the House Republican conference at a time when many of its members are eager for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol to recede from view. McCarthy members would much rather focus on their efforts to regain a majority in November.

In the recording, McCarthy is heard telling GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) that he was “seriously considering” speaking directly to Trump about whether he should resign after the attack. against the Capitol.

The California Republican also told his leadership team on tape that Trump personally acknowledged at least some role in inciting rioters that day (which POLITICO reported at the time, citing multiple people at the stream of conversation).

Trump “told me he had some responsibility for what happened and he had to own up to it,” McCarthy said in the phone call.

Some close to Trump have suggested the former president isn’t mad at the audio — instead, he sees it as a sign of his power because Senate and House GOP leaders seemed ready to turn against him after the Capitol siege and have since softened their approach. Of course, that could change; others say Trump is known to sit on information he can then use to roll out against someone who has offended him.

In Biggs’ interview with OANN, he particularly took issue with Cheney’s participation in the discussion of how to respond to Trump, despite the fact that the call came when she was still expected to participate as a member of the GOP leadership. Serious efforts to oust him from the upper echelons of the conference did not begin until weeks after the taped call.

“It’s incredibly undermining when we were back in the heat of the moment” after Trump supporters rioted, Biggs told the conservative outlet. “And we have a leader who basically negotiates with Liz Cheney about whether or not he should step down, [which] becomes a huge trust issue for me.

McCarthy, notably, didn’t quite see Biggs’ remarks as suggesting the taping might affect his confidence in his leader.

“I don’t think that’s what he said,” McCarthy said of Biggs in a brief interview Tuesday night.

“Did you ask Jim Jordan? the minority leader added, saying the issue was not raised in GOP meetings this afternoon.


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