House

GOP congressman says McCarthy’s taped comments pose a ‘huge trust issue’

Republican Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.) in a new interview said comments made by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol pose a “huge trust issue.”

Biggs, a former chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told One America News (OAN) in an interview that he believes McCarthy has work to do to regain the confidence of some GOP lawmakers and Trump supporters in Congress.

“It’s incredibly undermining when we were back in the heat of that, and a lot of people may forget what a mere 16 months ago was like, but it was hot and heavy, and those of us who were trying to fight for truth and accuracy to come out and understanding that there was going to be an impeachment 10 days before President Trump is leaving office, and we have our leader that’s basically negotiating with [Rep.] Liz Cheney [R-Wyo.] on whether he should encourage President Trump to resign or not becomes a huge, huge trust issue for me,” Biggs said.

Biggs is the latest GOP lawmaker to criticize McCarthy as he comes under fire for comments made during a call with Republican leadership on Jan. 10, 2021. During that conversation, as was reported by The New York Times, McCarthy said he would recommend that then-President Trump resign from office.

Cheney, who at the time was the chairwoman of the House GOP conference, was also heard on the call with McCarthy.

The minority leader quickly called the report “totally false and wrong,” but audio recordings later corroborated he had made the comments.

The saga is now reverberating throughout Washington, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle weighing in on the remarks themselves, in addition to McCarthy’s initial denial. It comes at a consequential moment for the Republican Party as it looks to take control of the House in November — a situation that would likely hand McCarthy the Speaker’s gavel.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) last week accused McCarthy of standing by Cheney, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a frequent critic of Trump and McCarthy, said that the minority leader “ought to be ashamed” for lying about the comments.

Biggs told OAN he has “several problems” with the tapes, including that McCarthy was “undermining” the Republican conference when others were working to defend Trump.

He also took issue with McCarthy not being candid with his Republican colleagues.

“He was not candid with conference. He wasn’t telling us what his position was,” Biggs said. “And the fact that he was working with Liz Cheney, who was always a ‘Never Trumper,’ is particularly problematic as well. So he was dissembling to the conference.”

The third point Biggs criticized was a comment McCarthy made on the call in which he, according to the Times, said he wished large tech companies would boot some GOP lawmakers from social media platforms, similar to what Twitter and Facebook did to Trump after the Jan. 6 riot.

McCarthy’s spokesman, however, told the newspaper that the Republican leader “never said particular members should be removed from Twitter.”

Biggs told OAN that the remark from McCarthy was “problematic.”

“The third thing, and this is perhaps the most serious thing as well — I mean, all of these are serious — is that he is recorded as saying that if we supported Trump, that we should be removed from our social media platforms,” Biggs said.

The Arizona Republican said he wished McCarthy had been “honest and truthful” with the GOP conference at the time of the comments so they would not be an issue now, when the party is looking ahead to the midterms.

“The unfortunate thing for us now is if he would have just been honest and truthful to us way back then, this would not be an issue today, and we don’t want it to be an issue because we don’t want it to be a distraction because we are moving forward … [with] tremendous momentum to retake the house,” he added.

Biggs said he has “no reason to doubt” that McCarthy’s comments on the call were his “true intentions and feelings.”

The Hill reached out to McCarthy for comment.

Tags Andy Biggs Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney

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