House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
- Kevin McCarthy told House Republicans that Trump accepted “some responsibility” for the Capitol riot.
- McCarthy’s previously reported comments took on renewed relevance after a tape of the call was released.
- Trump has never publicly apologized or accepted responsibility for the January 6 insurrection.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy privately told House Republicans that President Donald Trump accepted “some responsibility” for the January 6, 2021 insurrection, according to a tape of McCarthy’s remarks obtained by two New York Times reporters and released on CNN on Friday.
“I asked him personally today, does he hold responsibility for what happened? Does he feel bad about what happened?” McCarthy told House Republican lawmakers during a January 11, 2021 call. “He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. And he needed to acknowledge it.”
McCarthy’s call with Trump and some of the details of it were previously reported. But Times reporters Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin on Friday released audio of McCarthy’s call with GOP lawmakers. The pair are also the authors of the forthcoming book, “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for American Democracy.”
The reporters’ decision to release more tapes comes after McCarthy issued a sweeping denial that he made the comments. A McCarthy spokesperson also denied to The Times that McCarthy ever considered pushing for Trump to resign. Audio from a separate call of top Republican House leaders proves that McCarthy did exactly that.
Trump has never publicly taken responsibility for the Capitol riot. Arguably, the closest he has come to just an admission was the day after the riot when his White House released a short video of him saying that he would support an orderly transition.
“A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20,” Trump said in a January 7, 2021 video. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
Trump condemned the “heinous attack,” but offered no comment on his or his supporters’ role in trying to delay the final certification of the presidential election. Trump was later impeached by the House for inciting the insurrection and then acquitted by the Senate.
Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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