House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was denounced as a blatant liar when audio surfaced last week saying that then-President Donald Trump was responsible for the attack on Capitol Hill on January 6 and that He should be kicked out of politics. The content of the recording came first reported by The New York Times in a piece adapted from the upcoming revealing book, “This Shall Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future.”
In response to the Times report, McCarthy tweeted: “The New York Times reports on me are totally untrue and wrong.”
The fallout from the McCarthy tape seemed to breathe new life into the most ardent pro-Trump corners of the GOP.
But the recording categorically refutes his denials.
The audio, from January 10, 2021, was broadcast on “the rachel maddow show,after the publication of the Times story. In it, McCarthy can be heard telling other Republican leaders, including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, that she was going to ask Trump to resign.
The fallout over the McCarthy tape seemed to breathe new life into the most ardent pro-Trump corners of the GOP, who believe McCarthy should be replaced as leader of the House party by the much more Trumpy Congressman from Ohio. jim jordan. Many of Trump’s staunchest supporters in the House had already he was fed up with McCarthy’s leadership long before this latest controversy.
Responding to a Fox News contributor who called McCarthy a RINO (a Republican in name only) after the audio went public, pro-MAGA Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz took on tweeted that Jordan was “the hardest working and most talented member of the House Republican Conference. And all the members know it.”
Unsurprisingly, Democrats responded with a mix of shock and euphoria when many learned that McCarthy had been caught in a new series of outright lies, thanks to another audio recording containing the truth. (This also happened to him in 2017.)
Many pundits on the left erroneously concluded that such an outright abrogation of moral principle as the highest-ranking Republican in the House would, in a practical sense, disqualify someone who harbors ambitions to become president and third in the White Party line. House next year if Republicans, as many predict, regain control of the House.
Many Democrats also felt a certain sense of schadenfreude as they pondered the perplexing political position McCarthy must have found having been singled out, in a rare moment of blunt candor, as disloyal to Trump, raising questions about whether he could survive his party. .
But Democrats need to be careful what they wish for, as McCarthy’s possible demise is not necessarily a good thing when considering the alternative.
Yes, his behavior is despicable and cowardly. But here’s the thing: In the rare moment of candor that a leaked recording has allowed the world to hear, McCarthy at least seemed to have the ability to recognize when something was wrong. He at least exhibited a modicum of human sensitivity, allowing him to acknowledge grave injustice and culpability, if only to quickly sweep it under the rug for political expediency.
Make no mistake about it: What you hear on tape doesn’t make McCarthy the “good guy.” And he told reporters, a day after the audio was released, that he “I never thought“The president should resign underlines it.
But it could be much worse.
On the one hand, we have a cowardly, prevaricating and somewhat feeble-minded leader who intimidates Trump. But if these tapes ultimately eliminate McCarthy from the nomination for House GOP leader, we may be left with much worse. We could be forced to have a ruthless leader like Jordan as head of the House GOP, the same congressman who refused to cooperate with the House committee investigating the January 6 attack and who texted the then White House chief of staff. Staff Mark Meadows is pushing hard on an unproven legal theory to try to get then-Vice President Mike Pence to oppose certifying the 2020 election results.
In the “Nicomachean Ethics”, Aristotle wrote that “because the lesser evil is considered a good compared to the greater evil”. Although he wrote those words more than two millennia ago, he was aptly describing the situation the country finds itself in today, with one of its major parties having to choose between two different shades of horrible when it comes to its leadership in Congress. But let’s be honest: McCarthy is clearly the lesser of two evils. If someone like Jordan were to take up the gavel of the US House of Representatives, the nation would be entering uncharted and very dangerous territory.
Fortunately, criticism of McCarthy within the GOP seems to have dissipated somewhat when news broke that he had called Trump to apologize after his audio became national news and the the former president was not particularly upset over the taped comments, a move that may silence complaints about McCarthy among Trump’s legion of dedicated supporters in Congress.
McCarthy knows that any path to the presidency hinges on remaining in good hands with the former president. If he doesn’t pull that off, we could keep Jim Jordan.