The Perfect Enemy | Witcover: Audio tape captures Kevin McCarthy’s hypocrisy | News, Sports, Jobs - Standard-Examiner
May 27, 2022

Witcover: Audio tape captures Kevin McCarthy’s hypocrisy | News, Sports, Jobs – Standard-Examiner

Witcover: Audio tape captures Kevin McCarthy’s hypocrisy | News, Sports, Jobs  Standard-Examiner

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Jules Witcover



WASHINGTON — In the endless battle between politicians and the press over truth-telling, an audio tape has caught House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in a whopper of a lie.

It records him confirming former president Donald Trump’s incitement of the Jan. 6 insurrection, saying he urged Trump to call off the armed mob that attacked the Capitol, and that Trump had declined.

McCarthy is heard on the tape, aired by The Washington Post and the New York Times, saying Trump disregarded his advice to intervene by disavowing the riot and saving lives while there still was time to do so.

The House Republican leader has now dismissed the audio tape, contending either that it was false or that he was misquoted, despite the evidence in his own words and voice.

Compounding the embarrassment for the Grand Old Party are the recent comments of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, quoted in a new book by reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns of the Times, saying of Trump: “I feel exhilarated by the fact that this fellow finally, totally discredited himself. … He put a gun to his head to his head and pulled the trigger.”

By way of earning Trump’s wrath, McConnell is quoted saying the former president was “a despicable person,” adding that he would take him on in the 2022 primary elections. He said he and fellow Republican critics of Trump “crushed the sons of bitches” in 2020 and that’s what we’re going to do in the primary in 2022.”

It remains to be seen whether such threats will finally result in an effective purge of Trump from the party he has held tightly in his grip since his emergence as a political figure in 2016. Biden meanwhile has labored hard to “Build Back Better” from the Trump years and return to a semblance of political normalcy.

In his own party, however, Biden continues to have his hands full with fellow Democratic rebel Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia., as well as coping with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The president has effectively mobilized the pharmaceutical industry to combat it, with about two-thirds of all Americans now vaccinated.

But Biden still struggles with slipping support in the polls, amid counsel from other Democrats that he do a better job touting the accomplishments he has already achieved.

Jules Witcover’s latest book is “The American Vice Presidency: From Irrelevance to Power,” published by Smithsonian Books. You can respond to this column at


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