House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy yelled at a fellow House Republican last year and brought her to tears after she publicly confirmed details of a call he made to Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, two reporters claim in a new book.
“I alone am taking all the heat to protect people from Trump! I alone am holding the party together!” he yelled at Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) during a meeting in his office on Feb. 25, 2021, according to The Washington Post, which obtained an advance copy of the book. “I have been working with Trump to keep him from going after Republicans like you and blowing up the party and destroying all our work!”
Herrera Beutler had given the media details about McCarthy’s call to Trump on Jan. 6, 2021. She said McCarthy had told his colleagues that when he asked Trump to call off his supporters as they attacked the Capitol, Trump replied: “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”
“You should have come to me!” McCarthy reportedly told Herrera Beutler afterward. “Why did you go to the press? This is no way to thank me!”
Herrera Beutler reportedly answered: “What did you want me to do? Lie? I did what I thought was right.”
The book’s authors, Washington Post reporter Karoun Demirjian and Politico reporter Rachael Bade, said McCarthy’s tirade was “just the start of what would become a GOP-wide campaign to whitewash the details of what happened on January 6 in the aftermath of the second impeachment,” the Post says.
Demirjian and Bade said their reporting about the conversation between McCarthy and Herrera Beutler was based on a primary source and multiple lawmakers who heard the account from McCarthy.
However, both McCarthy and Herrera Beutler denied the details reported about their meeting when the book’s authors reached out to them.
The book also contains explosive details about Trump and McCarthy’s call during the riot. According to Politico, McCarthy shouted at the then-president that Trump supporters were “trying to fucking kill me.”
McCarthy has repeatedly and demonstrably lied about what went on behind the scenes after the Capitol riot. In the immediate aftermath, he said both privately and publicly that Trump bore responsibility for the attack and was recorded telling colleagues he had told Trump to resign.
But as the weeks passed and McCarthy sought to salvage his relationship with the former president, he pivoted to downplaying the violence and mischaracterizing his initial response.
Herrera Beutler, a six-term moderate Republican who voted in favor of Trump’s second impeachment, lost her primary election in August.
“Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump” will be released next week.