New audio recordings of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaking critically of some of his colleagues after the Jan. 6, 2021, incident are raising new questions about his future leadership of the conference.
GOP lawmakers leaving a conference meeting on Wednesday offered support for McCarthy, suggesting the tempest will be put to the side ahead of the midterm elections.
The recordings — taken during a call with members of House GOP leadership on Jan. 10, 2021, and obtained by The New York Times for an upcoming book — illustrate frustrations the minority leader had with remarks from conservative members of his conference.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), the No. 2 House Republican, also offers critical remarks of various members.
“These members on either, whatever position you are, calling out other members, that stuff’s got to stop, especially in this nature,” McCarthy said on the call.
“Tension is too high. The country is too crazy. I do not want to look back and think we caused something or we missed something and someone got hurt. I don’t want to play politics with any of that,” he added.
Here are the four GOP lawmakers McCarthy specifically mentioned:
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)
McCarthy on the Jan. 10 call said Gaetz was “putting people in jeopardy” with his remarks following the Capitol riot.
He was specifically concerned with comments the Florida Republican made about Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who was already receiving jabs from Republicans after being critical of then-President Trump, according to the Times.
“He doesn’t need to be doing this,” McCarthy said of Gaetz. “We saw what people would do in the Capitol, you know, and these people came prepared with rope, with everything else.”
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.)
Participants on the Jan. 10 call discussed remarks Brooks made at a rally that preceded the riot, including when he said “today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”
McCarthy said the statement may have gone further than what Trump had said.
“You think the president deserves to be impeached? Well his comments, that’s almost something that goes further than what the president said,” the minority leader said.
Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.)
Republicans on the call aired concerns about tweets Moore wrote in the days after the Jan. 6 riot.
In one of his posts, which has since been deleted but was captured by reporter Jamie Dupree, Moore said “Wow we have more arrests for stealing a podium on January 6th than we do for stealing an election on November 3rd! Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Detroit, would be places I recommend you start; there is video of evidence of these crimes as well! #ElectionIntegrityMatters.”
In another tweet, Moore mentioned the accounts of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and NARAL Pro-Choice America, writing, “I Understand it was a black police officer that shot the white female veteran . You know that doesn’t fit the narrative,” likely referring to the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 riot by a Capitol Police officer.
After being told about the Alabama Republican’s tweets, McCarthy said, “Can’t they take their Twitter accounts away too?”
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)
McCarthy and Scalise on the Jan. 10 call also discussed comments made by Gohmert in the lead-up to the Capitol incident.
“And Louie said, like, we need to fight or something, right? Didn’t he say something a couple days out that was horrendous?” McCarthy said.
“There was something like that, yes. It was incendiary,” Scalise said.
This is an excerpt from The Hill.
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