GOP congressional leaders Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell allegedly briefly plotted against then-President Donald Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to an upcoming book by two New York Times writers.
The authors, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, on Thursday released an adapted version of one chapter pertaining to McCarthy and McConnell.
The two claimed that while McCarthy “issued a careful [public] rebuke” of the then-president after the riot, he “went much further” behind the scenes.
“On a phone call with several other top House Republicans on Jan. 8, Mr. McCarthy said Mr. Trump’s conduct on Jan. 6 had been ‘atrocious and totally wrong.’ He faulted the president for ‘inciting people’ to attack the Capitol, saying that Mr. Trump’s remarks at a rally on the National Mall that day were ‘not right by any shape or any form,'” according to Martin and Burns’ Times write-up.
“I’ve had it with this guy,” McCarthy allegedly said of Trump.
During that same conversation, he even allegedly broached the idea of using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office but ultimately dropped the idea out of concern it’d “put more fuel on the fire.”
McCarthy isn’t the only GOP figure whom Martin and Burns have accused of plotting against Trump:
Times reporters’ book: Lindsey Graham threatened to oust Trump via 25th Amendment on Jan. 6 https://t.co/x48yBvPxL6
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) March 17, 2022
During another discussion with top Republicans two days later on Jan. 10th, McCarthy allegedly broached the idea of telling Trump that he should just go ahead and step down given the Democrats’ push for a second impeachment.
“Mr. McCarthy said he would tell Mr. Trump of the impeachment resolution: ‘I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign,'” according to Martin and Burns.
Other top GOP congressional leaders agreed, including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, who allegedly said it’s time for the Republican Party to ponder a “post-Trump Republican House,” and Rep. Tom Emmer, who allegedly called for censuring Trump.
However, McCarthy’s interest in ousting Trump seemed to wither as his other GOP colleagues began pushing back.
“In one group conversation, Representative Bill Johnson of Ohio cautioned that conservative voters back home ‘go ballistic’ in response to criticism of Mr. Trump, demanding that Republicans instead train their denunciations on Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton and Hunter Biden,” according to Martin and Burns.
And then when “only 10 House Republicans joined with Democrats to support impeaching Mr. Trump on Jan. 13, the message to Mr. McCarthy was clear.”
By the end of the month, he was posing with Trump for photographs and essentially on track to rebuilding their frayed relationship.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 29, 2021
According to Martin and Burns, McConnell acted similarly: “Late on the night of Jan. 6, Mr. McConnell predicted to associates that his party would soon break sharply with Mr. Trump and his acolytes; the Republican leader even asked a reporter in the Capitol for information about whether the cabinet might really pursue the 25th Amendment. ”
After the 25th Amendment idea was dropped, McConnell allegedly looked to Trump’s impeachment as a method for removing him from office.
“The Democrats are going to take care of the son of a bitch for us,” he allegedly said of Trump’s impeachment during a Jan. 15th discussion with two longtime advisers.
He even predicted that he could muster up a strong-enough bipartisan coalition to successfully convict Trump in the Senate.
“If this isn’t impeachable, I don’t know what is,” he allegedly said.
“In private, at least, Mr. McConnell sounded as if he might be among the Republicans who would vote to convict. Several senior Republicans, including John Thune of South Dakota and Rob Portman of Ohio, told confidants that Mr. McConnell was leaning that way,” according to Martin and Burns.
However, after Trump left office on Jan. 20th, 2021, McConnell’s interest in convicting him also waned.
“After Mr. Trump left office, a new legal argument emerged among Senate Republicans, offering them an escape hatch from a conflict few of them wanted: It was inappropriate to proceed with impeachment against a former president, they said,” according to Martin and Burns.
“When Senator Rand Paul, a fellow Kentuckian, proposed a resolution laying out the argument, Mr. McConnell voted in favor of it along with the vast majority of Senate Republicans. He didn’t ascend to power by siding with the minority, he explained to a friend.”
And then when the time to convict came, McConnell voted against, angering Democrats in the process:
🛑 BizPac Review News 🛑
👉 Pelosi slams Mitch McConnell as a ‘rogue leader’ in fiery official statement to Trump acquittal https://t.co/8plzrYwC90
— ❌nuuzfeed (@nuuzfeed) February 6, 2020
Are these allegations true or false? McConnell’s office has declined to comment, but McCarthy’s spokesperson did issue a statement.
“McCarthy never said he’d call Trump to say he should resign,” the spokesperson told Martin and Burns.
But even if Martin and Burns’ allegations against McConnell aren’t true, it’ll be interesting to see how the former president responds once he learns about them …
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