Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Sunday said Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) chances of becoming speaker if the GOP retakes the chamber remain “very strong” even after McCarthy lied about his previous plans to ask then-President Trump to resign after Jan. 6.
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” McCaul expressed confidence in McCarthy becoming speaker as he defended the House minority leader, who was caught in a lie on live TV after denying that he planned to tell Trump to resign in light of the deadly Capitol insurrection.
McCaul insisted that McCarthy is in “very good shape” to become speaker, citing Trump’s remarks to the Wall Street Journal on Friday evening, in which the former president said that his relationship with McCarthy remains on good terms because the House minority leader has since walked back his initial comments saying that Trump “bears responsibility” for the insurrection.
McCaul continued to defend McCarthy, saying that the audio recording documenting the House minority leader’s plans to ask Trump to resign was a rash decision when emotions were “flying high.”
“You have to put it in the context of when it was given. This is literally right after Jan. 6,” McCaul said. “It was a very dark day, and it was a very shocking day. A lot of emotions flying high.”
McCaul then argued that McCarthy was weighing “various options” as Trump faced impeachment in the House.
“What Kevin was doing was gaming out various options — hey, what if he got impeached in the House and then the Senate convicted? Would it better for him to resign prior to that?” McCaul said.
McCaul emphasized that ultimately McCarthy never floated the idea of resignation to Trump, and therefore McCarthy has his support to become speaker if the GOP retakes the House later this year.
“President Trump said yesterday that he fully supports Kevin McCarthy for speaker as do I,” McCaul said. “Kevin has put one goal and one goal only in his mind, that’s taking back the majority.”
McCaul also brushed off outcry over McCarthy’s lying as “a little beltway bubble blitz.”
“I don’t think it is going to have any long-term consequences,” McCaul said. “I do believe we’re going get the majority back, hopefully 40 seats. Kevin will be the next speaker of the House. He will work well with President Trump.”
Audio recording of McCarthy’s call to fellow House Republicans was released Thursday night by New York Times reporters who reported on the House minority leader’s intial plans to ask Trump to resign after the deadly Capitol insurrection last year.
Shortly before the recording was released, McCarthy denied the Times’ report, calling it “totally false and wrong.”
McCarthy, however, appears unscathed in the eyes of Trump and the House GOP conference. After claiming he had spoken to Trump twice since the recording surfaced, McCarthy told reporters on Friday that they had a “good conversation” about the audio recording. McCarthy, who has leaned on the fact that he “never asked” nor “thought” Trump should resign as part of his defense, is reportedly expected to address his conference about the audio recording this week, when Congress returns from recess.
Watch McCaul’s remarks below: