McCarthy calls NYT reporting on Trump-bashing ‘totally false’
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) vehemently denied reporting from a forthcoming book describing his sharp comments directed at former President Trump in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, calling it “totally false” and accusing the co-authors of not asking for comment before the book was printed.
A Thursday report in The New York Times, based on the upcoming book “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future,” described top congressional Republicans privately bashing Trump to a further extent than previously known.
It said McCarthy, who is aiming to become Speaker if Republicans win control of the House in this year’s midterm elections, expressed wanting to push Trump to resign during a House GOP leadership team phone call on Jan. 10.
“What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that and nobody should defend it,” the report described McCarthy saying. “I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign,” he reportedly planned to tell Trump.
A spokesman for McCarthy denied that he said he wanted Trump to resign, and after publication of the story, McCarthy issued a stronger rebuttal.
”The New York Times’ reporting on me is totally false and wrong,” McCarthy said in a statement Thursday. “It comes as no surprise that the corporate media is obsessed with doing everything it can to further a liberal agenda. 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,” McCarthy continued. “Our country has suffered enough under failed 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.”
The authors of the book, Times reporters Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin, stood by their reporting when discussing the denial from the McCarthy spokesman on CNN Thursday morning.
“We are 1,000 percent confident in our sourcing on that comment,” Burns said.
The report also said that McCarthy brought up Facebook and Twitter blocking the platforms of some House Republicans who made incendiary comments about the Capitol attack, as the platforms did with Trump.
The McCarthy spokesman told the Times that he “never said that particular members should be removed from Twitter.”
McCarthy has maintained a warmer relationship with Trump than his Senate counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whom the Times reported supported Democrats’ move to impeach Trump. Both of them publicly criticized Trump in the immediate aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack before declining to support impeachment or conviction.
On Jan. 13, a few days after the call in the Martin-Burns report, McCarthy said on the House floor that Trump “bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.”
But McCarthy argued against impeachment, and by the end of January 2021, he visited Trump at his Mar-a-Lago home. Months later, he pulled his picks from the House select committee formed to investigate Jan. 6 after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blocked two of his appointees.
McConnell, meanwhile, is regularly the target of angry statements by the former president even though McConnell has said he would support Trump if he became the party’s nominee in 2024.