Chris Christie doubts the leaked tapes of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy telling GOP colleagues he'd urge former President Donald Trump to resign after the Capitol riot will sway voters.
The former New Jersey governor got into an argument with ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl on Sunday about the particulars of the audio, revealed by a pair of New York Times reporters, and what it means for McCarthy and the GOP outside the nation's capital.
"The voters across the country could care less about this," Christie told Karl. "This is the rearview mirror stuff that the American people don't care about when they're paying five dollars a gallon for gas, when they got 8% inflation and can't buy their groceries, and when there's crime all over the streets of our major cities. They just don't care, Jon. And that's why the story doesn't get any traction outside Washington, D.C."
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.@GovChristie just leveled @jonkarl on ABC's This Week over the Kevin McCarthy tapes. pic.twitter.com/5LO15ypYMy— Kevin Tober (@KevinTober94) May 1, 2022
The audio was collected for the forthcoming book This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future, which is set to release May 3. The authors, New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns, have also detailed conversations with GOP leadership in which McCarthy said he would tell Trump to resign days after the riot.
McCarthy, a California Republican, denied the report as written, calling it "totally false and wrong," but then, audio was released on MSNBC in which he was heard telling GOP colleagues on Jan. 10 that he would urge Trump to resign. In the GOP leadership call, McCarthy said he firmly believed impeachment would pass the House and acknowledged that there was a "chance" Trump would be convicted by the Senate.
McCarthy has also denied that he ever asked Trump to resign, however. He spoke with the former president after the audio was released, and Trump announced that their relationship remained intact.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted McCarthy on Friday, describing him as inconsistent in his beliefs regarding the Jan. 6 riot and whether certain members of Congress were involved in inciting the violence.
With Republicans expected to regain control of the House this fall, McCarthy is a top contender to be the next speaker, though some of his GOP colleagues and media pundits on the Right have assailed him over the controversy.