Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie defended House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Sunday after he was accused of lying in a newly leaked audio recording.
In an interview on ABC This weekChristie argued with host Jonathan Karl over the content of the recording in which McCarthy was overheard telling fellow lawmakers that former President Donald Trump should step down from office after the US Capitol rioted on January 6, 2021. McCarthy has denied ever saying he wanted Trump to resign, which now calls his credibility into question.
The former governor tried to defend McCarthy, saying he said Trump’s resignation should only happen if the Senate votes to convict him. However, Karl retaliated by stating that the recording showed otherwise.
“I have to say, with all due respect, Governor Christie, I don’t think you accurately describe what was on that tape,” Karl said. “There’s no way to listen to this tape and think Kevin McCarthy was telling the truth. This tape, you hear Kevin McCarthy say I had it with this guy, referencing Donald Trump.”
Christie then argued that the recording doesn’t show the full context of the conversation and went on to say voters don’t care about the issue in the first place.
“Listen, you know who cares about that? Christie asked. “You know, maybe five people in Washington, D.C. Voters across the country might not care. It’s the rear-view mirror thing that Americans don’t care about when they’re paying $5 a gallon for the gasoline, when they have 8.5% inflation and can’t shop and when there’s crime on the streets of our big cities. They don’t care, John. And that’s why history has no success outside of Washington, DC.”
The former governor’s defense came as other Republicans recently criticized the House Minority Leader for the leaked tapes. The Lincoln Project, a Republican PAC, released an ad earlier this week claiming there are “two Kevin McCarthys.”
“Kevin McCarthy lied to reporters about not wanting Donald Trump to quit and Kevin is now lying about supporting Trump,” Lincoln Project co-founder Reed Galen said in a statement. “Kevin lies to his donors to keep the money flowing and he bets Trump is a jerk who will buy his apology.
The Republican Accountability Project (RAP), a conservative anti-Trump group, also posted billboards in California’s McCarthy District urging him to “stop lying.”
Still, other Republicans have joined Christie in defending him. The House Minority Leader reportedly received a standing ovation from his colleagues after standing up for himself at a House GOP conference meeting this week.
Newsweek contacted McCarthy’s office for additional comment.