When it comes to dropping bombs, it seems that Liz Cheney is more effective than Vladimir Putin. Yesterday, the congresswoman lofted a single expertly-guided and perfectly-timed weapon of mass destruction at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Cheney’s ordnance blew up directly in McCarthy’s face, leaving the Republican leader’s public persona resembling Yosemite (Yo Semite!) Sam after a bomb blows up in his face.
Our story begins with a New York Times article published on Thursday that gave an inside account of McCarthy’s reaction on January 6 to the insurrection. The report is based on an upcoming book, "This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America's Future," by Times reporters Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin.
Per the report, McCarthy was initially outraged at Trump’s actions, saying, “I’ve had it with this guy,” and indicating that he was thinking about recommending that Trump resign because he thought the second impeachment resolution would pass.
But McCarthy’s outrage did not last, at least publicly. The Times quotes McCarthy a few weeks later as telling another Republican, “I didn’t get to be leader by voting with five people in the conference.” In other words, McCarthy’s principles shift with the political breezes.
(The Dispatch reports that the book says that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed that Trump should be impeached, saying, “If this isn’t impeachable, I don’t know what is.” Neither McConnell not McCarthy voted for impeachment.)
McCarthy was outraged at the Times story, however. He quickly issued a statement that called the story “totally false and wrong.” He also charged that the Times was “profiting from manufactured political intrigue from politically-motivated sources.”
Normally, that’s where the story would end. It would be a case of media-said/he-said and each side would back their own horse.
Not this time.
Not long after McCarthy issued his scathing denial, a new story broke. There was a recording.
“Ruh-roh,” as Scooby-Doo might say.
The recording, which was originally aired by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, is devastating for McCarthy’s credibility. You can listen to it here. (Hat tip to Newsweek for the transcript.)
In the recording, Rep. Cheney references a previous discussion about the 25th Amendment and then asks if Trump might resign.
Here is Kevin McCarthy’s response if full:
I've had a few discussions. My gut tells me no. I'm seriously thinking of having that conversation with him tonight. I haven't talked to him in a couple of days.
Um, from what I know of him, I mean you guys all know him too, do you think he'd ever back away? But what I think I'm going to do, is I'm going to call him.
This, this is what I think. We know it'll pass the House. I think there's a chance it [the impeachment resolution] will pass the Senate, even when he's gone. Um, and I think there's a lot of different ramifications for that.
Now, I haven't had a discussion with the Dems, that if he did resign, would that happen?
Now, this is one personal fear I have. I do not want to get into any conversation about Pence pardoning.
Again, the only discussion I would have with him is that I think this [the impeachment resolution] will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign. Um, I mean that would be my take. But I don't think he would take it. But I don't know.
So, in reality, McCarthy thought Trump should have resigned and that impeachment was justified. His private thoughts at the time were very different from his public statements, especially those occurring weeks or months after the insurrection.
The recording is incontrovertible proof that Kevin McCarthy is a liar and a hypocrite.
So far, the source of the recording has not been publicly identified, but it is widely assumed that Cheney recorded the call and leaked it to the press. She would have ample reason to do so.
As you probably remember, Liz Cheney was one of the few Republicans to vote to hold Trump accounting for trying to steal the election as well as one of the few Republicans who even wanted to investigate the events of January 6 rather than sweep them under the rug.
She paid a steep price for her principled stand. She was ousted from her leadership role in the House and even excommunicated from the Wyoming GOP. She may lose her seat in the House to a Trumpist challenger.
Rep. Cheney’s spokesperson has denied that she leaked the audio. If she didn’t, she should have.
But really, McCarthy has no one to blame but himself. Lies can be notoriously hard to keep straight and you never know when someone has evidence of your deception. Thst’s one reason your mom told you that honesty is the best policy.
The audio recording shines a glaring light on the dishonesty and hypocrisy of a Republican Party that has been almost totally corrupted in four short years by Donald Trump.
Forget that Trump attacked the Constitution and the foundation of the American Republic by undermining faith in elections and attempting a coup to stay in power, the Dems are infinitely worse and more dangerous and whatever we Republicans have to do to stay in power is justified because every election is Flight 93 and the most important election of our lives! It isn’t that Republicans can do no wrong, but nothing that any Republican does is worse than what any Democrat might do.
This sort of crisis thinking allows people like McCarthy to justify their own dishonesty and lust for power but risks the destruction of the very country that they claim to want to make great again.
No matter how many times Yosemite Sam got blown up, he kept coming back for more. Will McCarthy survive his bomb blast to the face? If I had to guess, I’d say yes. The Republican Party no longer possesses the self-awareness to feel shame. It’s all about owning the libs. Just deny everything and call them socialists.
The big question regarding McCarthy’s future is how Trump and MAGA will react. The Former Guy is notoriously unforgiving of disloyalty and no matter how obsequious McCarthy is today, he wanted Trump to resign when the chips were down. It’s probably too late for a MAGA primary challenge, but McCarthy can kiss the speakership goodbye.
And all because he had a brief moment of principled clarity. I’m sure it won't happen again.
I remember Herman Cain, the conservative talker who tragically died from COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic after attending a Trump rally without a mask. On his radio show, one of Cain’s favorite phrases was, “They think you’re stupid.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, another principled Republican being ousted from the party, echoed Cain in a tweet yesterday, saying, “Republicans, your leaders think you are dumb.”
People like Kevin McCarthy and Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis lie to your face and then deny everything when they are caught. It’s all about grabbing power and then holding onto it, not for saving America or making it great again, but for their own benefit.
Such people are the last people who should be trusted with power. Again.
Tweet of the Day: Politics makes strange bedfellows and that was true again this week when Jenna Ellis, a Trump lawyer who was hip-deep in TFG’s attempt to steal the 2020 election, agreed with Steve and me on DeSantis’s Disney revenge bill. Enjoy.
Finally, I’d like to wish my wife, Debi, a happy 22nd anniversary! I love you!
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