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Trump says he and Kevin McCarthy are on good terms after leaked audio revealed the GOP leader pushed for Trump to step down

Business Insider logo Business Insider 4/24/2022 ydzhanova@businessinsider.com (Yelena Dzhanova)
President Donald Trump (R) speaks as he joined by House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (L) in the Rose Garden of the White House on January 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images © Alex Wong/Getty Images President Donald Trump (R) speaks as he joined by House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (L) in the Rose Garden of the White House on January 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Trump said he and McCarthy are still on good terms after audio revealed McCarthy planned to ask Trump to resign.
  • "I like him," Trump told The Wall Street Journal. "And other than that brief period of time, I suspect he likes me quite a bit."
  • The New York Times released audio in which McCarthy said he thought it'd be best for Trump to step down.

President Donald Trump said he and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are on good terms after secret audio revealed the GOP leader planned to urge the former president to step down last year.

Trump, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Friday, said he "didn't like the call" McCarthy made in his decision to ask him to resign after the deadly January 6 Capitol riot. 

"But almost immediately as you know, because he came here and we took a picture right there—you know, the support was very strong," Trump said, referring to a photo taken with McCarthy in late January that he said indicated a strong bond between him and the Republican leader.

"I think it's all a big compliment, frankly. They realized they were wrong and supported me," Trump said of McCarthy and the other Republicans.

In the audio, recently released by The New York Times, McCarthy can be heard telling his fellow GOP lawmakers that he planned to confront Trump and urge him to resign after the Capitol riot. 


Video: McCarthy denies urging Trump to resign despite leaked recording (TODAY)

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Rep. Liz Cheney can be heard asking McCarthy in the audio, captured on January 10, 2021, if Trump should resign. McCarthy said that his "gut tells me no" but added that he's "seriously thinking of having that conversation with him tonight."

McCarthy also said that an impeachment resolution would pass in the House and "there's a chance it will pass the Senate even when he's gone." Then McCarthy said he'll tell Trump that "it would be my recommendation you should resign."

McCarthy in a statement posted to Twitter said the reporting from the Times was "totally false and wrong," and reiterated his support for Trump. "The past year and a half have proven that our country was better off when President Trump was in the White House," his statement said. 

Last year, a group of 10 House Republicans voted to impeach Trump, but McCarthy was not one of them. After the audio was released, both Republicans and Democrats slammed McCarthy. 

Trump ally Roger Stone, for instance, demanded that McCarthy resign over the audio and called him a "disgrace."

And Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois who also serves on the House panel tasked with investigating the Capitol riot, said McCarthy's remarks in the leaked audio demonstrate that Republican leaders think their voters are "dumb."

He "ought to be ashamed," Kinzinger said. "Republicans, your leaders think you are dumb. Let's be done with them."

Trump, when asked if he still supports McCarthy as the Republican leader, told The Wall Street Journal that he's had a "very good relationship with him."

"I like him," Trump said. "And other than that brief period of time, I suspect he likes me quite a bit."

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