McCarthy denies report he wanted Trump to resign after Jan. 6
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said a report that he had planned to call on then-President Trump to resign after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was "totally false and wrong."
The New York Times, in an article published Thursday, detailed previously unreported anger at the president expressed by the House Republican leader and his Senate counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in the days after the attack. According to the piece — which is adapted from a forthcoming book by Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns — McCarthy told other Republican leaders, "I've had it with this guy."
The report says that he also told other House Republican colleagues that Mr. Trump's behavior the day of the attack was "atrocious and totally wrong" and blamed him for the riots at the Capitol, and, with an impeachment resolution on the horizon from Democrats, he planned to tell the former president to resign.
"What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that and nobody should defend it," he said, according to the Times.
In a statement posted to Twitter hours after the story broke, McCarthy said, "The New York Times' reporting on me is totally false and wrong. 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?"
He went on to accuse the "corporate media" of trying to profit off of "manufactured political intrigue from politically-motivated sources."
Some of McCarthy's frustrations with the president did play out publicly. On Jan. 13, he gave a speech on the House floor in which he said "the president bears responsibility or Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters." McCarthy went on to say, "He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding."
But later that month, he sought to repair his relationship with the former president, who still held enormous sway over the GOP base. He visited Mr. Trump's Mar-a-Lago retreat and posed for pictures with him.
McConnell, the Times reported, told his advisers after the attack, "If this isn't impeachable, I don't know what is," in reference to the upcoming impeachment vote and predicted there would be a strong bipartisan vote to convict in the Senate. Ultimately, just seven Senate Republicans voted to convict Mr. Trump during his impeachment trial, while others who criticized his behavior – including McConnell – argued that it was unconstitutional to impeach a former president.
A McConnell spokesman did not return a request for comment.
Jack Turman contributed to this report.
Rebecca Kaplan covers Congress for CBS News.