Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) email thingie wins the morning and return to form with HOT GOSSIP about K-Mac, who is really bad at his job!
WHAT McCARTHY TOLD TRUMP — This morning we have the first scoop from Robert Draper’s latest book, “Weapons of Mass Delusion: When the Republican Party Lost Its Mind” ($29), which will be released Oct. 18.
It’s been widely reported that DONALD TRUMP and KEVIN McCARTHYhad a fiery exchange on Jan. 6, 2021. But Draper adds a dramatic and newsworthy new detail about the House GOP leader’s side of the conversation, one that makes his later submission to Trump even more undignifying. From page 64 of the chapter entitled “The Enabler”:
“Well, Kevin,” President Trump said to McCarthy by phone shortly before three in the afternoon on January 6, “I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”
“More upset?” McCarthy yelled back incredulously, according to an account he gave a few hours later to a Republican colleague. “THEY’RE TRYING TO FUCKING KILL ME!”
Draper also reports on the history of the McCarthy-Trump relationship, including McCarthy’s youthful fascination with Trump — long before he ever knew the future president.
Back in 2011, Draper interviewed a friend of McCarthy from his hometown Bakersfield, Calif., who told Draper, “One person that he always talked about back then was Donald Trump. He talked about him all the time. I don’t recall if he met him, but he talked about him a lot in our early twenties.”
TRUMP-McCARTHY PHONE CALL FALLOUT, CONT’D — The latest scoop from Playbook’s own Rachael Bade and co-author Karoun Demirjian appears in The Washington Post today, sourced from their new book, “Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump” ($28), also on sale Oct. 18.
Two weeks after Trump’s second acquittal, McCarthy yelled so forcefully at Rep. JAIME HERRERA BEUTLER (R-Wash.) for going public about his Jan. 6 call with Trump that he made the Washington Republican burst into tears.
At the time of their private meeting, Trump was still furious with McCarthy for allowing their Jan. 6 conversation to leak. McCarthy, now eager to get back into Trump’s good graces, took his frustration out on Herrera Beutler, whom he’d once considered a friend.
“After all the work I have done for the Republican Party, the money I have raised!” McCarthy seethed at Herrera Beutler in the meeting in his office. “After all the work I have done for you! … I alone am taking all the heat to protect people from Trump! I alone am holding the party together!I have been working with Trump to keep him from going after Republicans like youand blowing up the party and destroying all our work! … You should have come to me! Why did you go to the press? This is no way to thank me!”
Herrera Beutler, who had considered McCarthy something of a big-brother figure, defended herself: “What did you want me to do? Lie?” she told him. “I did what I thought was right!”
McCarthy and Herrera Beutler disputed the account in a joint statement to the Post, calling it “dramatized to fit an on-screen adaptation, not to serve as a document of record.” But the authors are standing by their reporting, which they source to a person with first-hand knowledge of the argument and to multiple lawmakers whom McCarthy told about the meeting.
Other new details from the book’s account of McCarthy’s post-Jan. 6 maneuvering:
— Herrera Beutler learned of McCarthy’s account of the Jan. 6 phone call when she approached the GOP leader for counsel about her vote on Trump’s second impeachment. Rather than urge her to vote no, McCarthy effectively treated the meeting as a therapy session, telling her the truth about Trump’s contemptuous disregard for the Capitol, knowing it would likely lead her to vote to impeach.
— McCarthy was wary of and initially planned not to sign a House GOP amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn election results in key swing states — and the book reports that McCarthy reached out to Rep. LIZ CHENEY (R-Wyo.) for advice on how to handle the situation. McCarthy told Cheney that he thought the court filing was bad for democracy — but he ended up caving after Trump and his allies demanded that he do so.
— A key reason McCarthy flew to Mar-a-Lago to prostrate himself before Trump after Jan. 6 was to try to protect Republicans from Trump’s wrath — or at least that’s how he justified it to others. According to Bade and Demirjian, when Trump-skeptical Republicans privately grilled McCarthy about his infamous meeting in Palm Beach, McCarthy told them he was doing it for them.