Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Sunday said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy enjoys “very strong” support from his Republican colleagues after audio released last week showed that McCarthy wanted then-President Donald Trump to resign in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
Asked whether McCarthy can still lead the House Republican Conference, McCaul (R-Texas) told “Fox News Sunday” in an interview: “Absolutely. I think Kevin is in very good shape. In fact, [Trump] came out saying that this is not going to endanger his relationship with Kevin, that he’s strongly supportive.”
In his defense of McCarthy, McCaul repeatedly referenced Trump’s comments in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Friday, during which the former president indicated he was not upset with McCarthy and other prominent Republicans who rebuked him after the insurrection but ultimately still sought his political support. “I think it’s all a big compliment, frankly,” Trump said.
Invoking Trump’s statements on Sunday, McCaul signaled yet again that Republican lawmakers’ response to the controversy would have little to do with the content of McCarthy’s remarks and his lack of candor about the conversations, and would instead be predicated on the reaction the released audio elicited from the former president.
“President Trump said yesterday that he fully supports Kevin McCarthy for speaker, as do I,” McCaul said.
McCarthy, McCaul added, “has worked tirelessly to get the [House] majority back” from Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections. “I can tell you, the support in the conference is very strong for him, and this is a little Beltway bubble blip, if you will. I don’t think it’s going to have any long-term consequences.”