(The Hill) — A spokesman for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is denying that the leader told GOP colleagues he would recommend former President Donald Trump resign if he was impeached over the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, one of many Trump-bashing comments from top Republicans revealed in a forthcoming book.
Top GOP leaders privately criticized Trump in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack to a further extent than previously known, according to a report in The New York Times based on the upcoming book “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told advisers on Jan. 11, 2021, that “the Democrats are going to take care of the son of a bitch for us,” referring to impeachment, and also said: “If this isn’t impeachable, I don’t know what is,” according to the report.
McConnell has an icy relationship with the former president, but he reversed course and did not vote to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 attack. He has also said he would back Trump if he became the GOP’s nominee for the White House in 2024.
McCarthy is seen as having a closer relationship with Trump, though the two have had some differences. McCarthy opposed Trump’s impeachment and has pulled Republicans he sought to appoint to a panel investigating Jan. 6 after Democrats rejected some of his nominees for the committee.
According to the Times report, McCarthy told the House GOP leadership team in a Jan. 10 phone call that he would tell Trump to resign if he is impeached.
“What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that and nobody should defend it,” McCarthy reportedly said.
He added that he would tell Trump about the impeachment resolution: “I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign.”
A spokesman for McCarthy, Mark Bednar, denied to The New York Times and again to The Hill that McCarthy had relayed plans to ask Trump to resign: “He did not say that.”
The New York Times stands by its reporting.
“We are a thousand percent confident in our sourcing on that comment,” reporter Alex Burns, who wrote the book along with Jonathan Martin, said on CNN Thursday morning.
McCarthy also reportedly wondered if some Republican members who made incendiary comments about the Capitol attack could have their Twitter and Facebook accounts taken away, as the companies had done with Trump, per the Martin-Burns reporting.
The McCarthy spokesman told The New York Times that the GOP leader “never said that particular members should be removed from Twitter.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise reportedly said on the call that it was time to think about a “post-Trump Republican House.” National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer suggested censuring Trump, the story said, a detail that also prompted a denial.
“This is fake news. Chairman Emmer never insinuated or suggested censuring President Trump. People will write anything to sell books,” NRCC Communications Director Michael McAdams said in a statement.
The offices of Scalise and McConnell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
None of those top Republicans voted in favor of impeaching or convicting Trump. McCarthy visited Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort at the end of January 2021, less than a month after the attack.