'puppet of the Democratic Party'
On the same Jan. 10, 2021, conference call where House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) privately told colleagues he would urge former President Donald Trump to resign for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, McCarthy identified several far-right members of his caucus as security risks, The New York Times reported Tuesday evening, with audio of the conversation.
McCarthy specifically warned about Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.). Gaetz is "putting people in jeopardy," he said. "And he doesn't need to be doing this. We saw what people would do in the Capitol, you know, and these people came prepared with rope, with everything else." House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) suggested "it's potentially illegal what he's doing."
But "McCarthy did not follow through on the sterner steps that some Republicans encouraged him to take, opting instead to seek a political accommodation with the most extreme members of the GOP in the interests of advancing his own career," the Times reports.
McCarthy did not answer questions about the leaked audio Tuesday night, but when reporters asked if he thought the comments would imperil his bid to be House speaker, he said, "Nope." Some House Republicans said they still support McCarthy and several told ABC News they expect him to address his comments at a House GOP meeting Wednesday morning. But Gaetz slammed McCarthy and Scalise for "sniveling" about him and Trump in private, adding, "This is the behavior of weak men, not leaders."
Influential Fox News host Tucker Carlson was particularly incensed by McCarthy's question about certain House Republicans: "Can't they take their Twitter accounts away, too?" He called McCarthy "a puppet of the Democratic Party" and "a man who in private. turns out, sounds like an MSNBC contributor."
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), an alleged planner of a Jan. 6 pre-riot rally, agreed that McCarthy's "most serious" infraction was suggesting Twitter suspend GOP lawmakers, but he told One American News "we don't want it to be a distraction" before the midterms.