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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Kevin McCarthy Lied

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.  Some Republican leaders -- and a measurable number of rank-and-file voters -- are open to violent rebellioncoups, and secession.  

Rachel Bade and Eli Okun at Politico:
REPRIEVE FOR ‘MY KEVIN’? — At a moment when House Minority Leader KEVIN MCCARTHY’s shot at the speakership looked more in danger than ever, he may have saved himself Thursday night — at least for now.

WaPo’s Jacqueline Alemany and Marianna Sotomayor, citing two sources, report that McCarthy talked with DONALD TRUMP on Thursday night and Trump “was not upset” about new audio that revealed McCarthy said Trump should resign after Jan. 6.

Instead, the former president was pleased that McCarthy reneged and started backing him again, “which Trump saw as a sign of his continued grip on the Republican Party,” they report.

Axios’ Jonathan Swan confirmed the WaPo take, tweeting: “Yep. Trump liked the original JMart/Burns story bc he felt like it made him look strong bc McCarthy and McConnell said all these terrible things about him around Jan 6 and now he sees McCarthy as a supplicant and McConnell said he’ll back him in 2024 if he’s the nominee.”

Still, a lot of House Republicans know Trump can go hot and cold on people fast, forgiving one minute and furious the next. They’re still awaiting an official public response from Trump before figuring out how to proceed.

The Trump-McCarthy call followed the explosive revelation from Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns’ new book, “This Will Not Pass,” that McCarthy and Senate GOP Leader MITCH MCCONNELL had privately called for Trump to go following the Capitol insurrection — which McCarthy denied, only for the reporters to offer audio proof.

But not everyone in Trump world is mollified:
  • On his show this morning, STEVE BANNON called it a “cardinal sin” for McCarthy to deny comments that were caught on tape.
  • And BORIS EPSHTEYN warned that “Kevin McCarthy’s got a big problem” in his speakership bid now, per Nick Wu.
They won’t be the last. There are a lot of Trump allies who are not fans of McCarthy, so expect these types to try to stir the pot against him. But then again, McCarthy has also strategically — and smartly — hired a bunch of former Trump staffers, who could theoretically play peacemakers on his behalf.

MEANWHILE … This morning, Martin and Burns presented more snippets of leaked audio of McCarthy in the days after Jan. 6, though some of its contents were previously reported, albeit without audio. Appearing on CNN, they had the tapes:

McCarthy talking to House GOP leadership on Jan. 10, 2021: “I know this is not fun. I know this is not great. I know this is very tough. But what I want to do, especially through here, is I don’t want to rush things. I want everybody to have all the information needed. I’ve had it with this guy. What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it.”
Here’s McCarthy the next day, sounding much more conciliatory while talking to the full House GOP Conference: “Let me be very clear to all of you, and I am very clear to the president: He bears responsibilities for his words and actions, no [ifs], ands or buts. I asked him personally today: Does he hold responsibility for what happened? Does he feel bad about what happened? He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. And he [needed] to acknowledge that.” CNN’s Melanie Zanona breaks it down … (But we already knew the gist of this one)

WHO’S THE LEAKER?: Per the WaPo story, Rep. LIZ CHENEY’s (R-Wyo.) spokesman said she didn’t leak the audio. House Minority Whip STEVE SCALISE’s (R-La.) spokesman said he didn’t leak it, nor did anyone on his team. Notably, our understanding is that staff for a lot of these top members were also on this call. So it could have been an aide.