- Kevin McCarthy said Trump told him personally that he bore some responsibility for the Capitol riot.
- McCarthy made those remarks on a radio show and privately in a phone call with Republicans last year, per CNN.
- During a news conference on Thursday, McCarthy said he couldn’t recall the phone call.
In the days after January 6, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Republicans in a private phone call that then-President Donald Trump admitted he shares some responsibility for the Capitol riot, according to CNN.
But during a news conference on Thursday, McCarthy told reporters that he couldn’t recall that phone conversation on January 11, 2021.
“I’m not sure what call you’re talking about,” McCarthy said.
CNN reported on the phone call at the time, and on Thursday the news outlet obtained a detailed readout of what McCarthy told his Republican colleagues.
“Let me be clear to you and I have been very clear to the president. He bears responsibility for his words and actions. No if ands or buts,” McCarthy told House Republicans on January 11, 2021, according to CNN. “I asked him personally today if he holds responsibility for what happened. If he feels bad about what happened. He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. But he needs to acknowledge that.”
McCarthy also said in a local radio interview on January 12, 2021, that Trump “told me personally that he does have some responsibility” for the riot, CNN reported.
The House Republican leader has since resisted pinning any blame on Trump for the Capitol riot. The former president has never publicly admit any responsibility for the day’s violence.
McCarthy’s comments surrounding January 6 have come under scrutiny after the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot reached out to him on Wednesday to voluntarily cooperate with the probe.
The California Republican rejected the congressional panel’s request on Thursday, calling the committee “illegitimate.”
“As a representative and the leader of the minority party, it is with neither regret nor satisfaction that I have concluded to not participate with this select committee’s abuse of power that stains this institution today and will harm it going forward,” he said.
McCarthy reportedly originally backed the creation of a bipartisan 9/11-style commission to investigate the Capitol riot, yet later withdrew his support because it failed to include civil unrest during the summer of 2020 as part of its investigation, as many Republicans had called for.
He has since repeatedly condemned the committee as a partisan tool.
McCarthy’s office did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.