House

Kinzinger: McCarthy audio shows GOP leaders think Republican voters are ‘dumb’

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, said audio of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) bashing former President Trump shows that GOP leaders think their voters are “dumb.”

In the audio, McCarthy tells colleagues he’s “had it” with Trump in the days after the Jan. 6 attack and that the former president was responsible in part for Jan. 6. McCarthy later reversed course and has continued to support the former president as the de facto leader of the GOP.

On Thursday, he said reporting by The New York Times over some of his remarks was false — before the audio of him making the comments was released.

“Wow. McCarthy literally today said this was a lie and just a few hours later the tape with his voice from his mouth proves THAT was a lie. Incredible.  @GOPLeader ought to be ashamed. Republicans, your leaders think you are dumb. Let’s be done with them,” Kinzinger tweeted.

The Illinois lawmaker is one of two Republicans on the Jan. 6 panel investigating the attack, and frequently criticizes his leader. Kinzinger is not running for reelection.

On Thursday night, MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” aired audio of McCarthy, obtained by reporters from The New York Times, in which he was considering asking the former president to step down following the violent riot — just hours after the House GOP leader had pushed back against the Times report.

“The only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will pass,” McCarthy can be heard saying in the audio, referring to the likelihood that Congress would impeach former President Trump, “and it would be my recommendation you should resign. I mean, that would be my take, but I don’t think he would take it. But I don’t know.”

More audio of the call was aired on Friday morning by CNN, in which McCarthy said he had “had it with this guy,” referring to Trump. 

“Alright, I know this is not fun, I know this is not great. I know this is very tough. But what I want to do, especially through here, is I don’t want to rush things. I want everybody to have all the information needed. I’ve had it with this guy. What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it,” the House Minority leader said in the recording. 

The Washington Post reported on Friday that McCarthy and Trump spoke after audio of McCarthy’s call with House GOP leaders aired on Thursday night. Trump was reportedly not upset with the California Republican over his statements. 

Tags Adam Kinzinger Kevin McCarthy Kevin McCarthy

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