Newly released audio House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Republican lawmakers on a private conference call that then-President Donald Trump had admitted bearing some responsibility for the deadly attack.
A readout of that conversation, which took place on January 11, 2021, had been previously reported by CNN. But two New York Times reporters obtained an audio recording of the conference call for their upcoming book, “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future,” and shared it with CNN.
“But let me be very clear to you and I have been very clear to the President. He bears responsibility for his words and actions. No if, ands or buts,” McCarthy told House Republicans on January 11, 2021, according to the audio obtained by CNN. “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 needs to acknowledge that.”
On a separate call the day before, McCarthy said, “I had it with this guy. What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it.” The book’s authors say those comments were in reference to Trump.
A GOP member of leadership who called McCarthy this morning to discuss the audio file revealed by The New York Times on Thursday night said they didn’t get the impression McCarthy is worried that the recorded comments or revelations could hurt his political future in a significant way. The member told CNN that McCarthy told them Trump called McCarthy on Thursday night to discuss this and that there is a feeling as long as Trump is fine, McCarthy can manage any outrage from those on his right flank.
So far, Trump has yet to comment on the leaked audio.