House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy received a standing ovation from House Republicans during a meeting on Wednesday after he addressed leaked audio from a phone call he made days after the January 6 Capitol riot.
“Standing ovation and Kevin will be speaker,” Representative Nancy Mace (R., SC) told reporters after the meeting on Wednesday, according to Fox News.
Representative Jay Obernolte (R., Calif.) confirmed to Fox News that the members gave McCarthy a standing ovation.
The New York Times recently published audio from a January 10, 2021 meeting of Republican leadership in which McCarthy expressed concern that Representative Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) and Representative Mo Brooks (R., Ala.) were endangering the security of other lawmakers and the Capitol complex in the wake of January 6.
Leadership discussed several other GOP lawmakers during the January 10 call who made comments they deemed offensive or dangerous as well, including Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Barry Moore of Alabama.
It was during that phone call with Republican leaders — including Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who is the No. 2 House Republican, then-House Republican Conference chairwoman Liz Cheney, and Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota — that McCarthy suggested he would call on Trump to resign, as the New York Times first reported last week.
“He addressed them and I think the conference is satisfied,” Obernolte told Fox News of what the House GOP leader said about the leaked comments.
Representative Robert Aderholt (R., Ala.) told The Hill that McCarthy said that the conversations featured in the leaked audio were the leaders just speculating on different scenarios, including suggesting Trump resign and wondering if GOP members could be kicked off of social media.
“He just said that we were going to lay out different things of what could be,” Aderholt said. “At this point, you know, I take his word for it.”
The meeting included a discussion around the need for Republicans to remain focused on taking back control of the House in the upcoming midterms, according to The Hill.
“This is a distraction, folks. Come on. This is simply a distraction by the left trying to drive a wedge in a very unified Republican Party and a very unified conference,” said Representative Barry Loudermilk of Georgia.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia told The Hill that she spoke during the meeting on Wednesday and wanted to see McCarthy and Scalise apologize for their comments in the leaked audio about Gaetz.
“We all need to be accountable for our words. I’ve had to do that before. And that we need to apologize when we say something wrong,” Greene said, adding that it was “hurtful” to hearing McCarthy suggest that members be removed from social media.
However, she noted McCarthy’s team has helped her with her effort to restore her personal Twitter account, which was permanently suspended.
“A lot of this stuff is just drama that the American people don’t care about,” Greene said.
In audio from January 2021 published by the New York Times on Tuesday, McCarthy said the country was “too crazy” for the lawmakers to speak or tweet recklessly in the wake of the riots.
“He’s putting people in jeopardy,” McCarthy said of Gaetz after the Florida Republican appeared on television attacking several Republicans who had criticized Trump. “And he doesn’t need to be doing this. We saw what people would do in the Capitol, you know, and these people came prepared with rope, with everything else.”
Meanwhile, Cheney is heard in audio from the same meeting asking McCarthy if there is any chance Trump would resign.
“My gut tells me no,” McCarthy responded, according to the audio released by the New York Times last week. “I am seriously thinking about having that conversation with him tonight.”
“The only discussion I would have with him is I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation that he should resign,” McCarthy says, referring to the impeachment resolution in the House. “That would be my take, but I don’t think he would take it. But I don’t know.”
Before the audio’s release last week, McCarthy issued a statement disputing reporting on the meeting by New York Times reporters Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin.
“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,” McCarthy said. “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?”