House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy was apparently looking into ways to remove then-President Trump in a hurry days after the Capitol riot, according to leaked audio provided to CNN. In a Jan. 8, 2021 call with House GOP leadership, McCarthy said the 25th Amendment "takes too long." "It could go back the House, right?" McCarthy asked after an aide told him the amendment, which would have required the support of then-Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of Cabinet members, was one the options House Democrats were discussing. The aide confirmed that using the amendment to remove Trump from office would also require two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate.
McCarthy, who described Trump's actions on Jan. 6 as "atrocious and totally wrong," also expressed opposition to a "divisive" impeachment trial, noting that it could delay confirmation of then-President-elect Biden's Cabinet nominees, the Hill reports. He said the best way forward "is to focus on the future, not the past" and discussed reaching out to Biden to talk about a "smooth transition," saying, " I actually think he personally would be stronger above it to actually say something to that extent, ‘I want to move the country forward.'"
In previously released audio from the call, McCarthy said he would encourage Trump to resign. CNN notes that days after the Jan. 8 call, the House voted on a resolution to urge Pence to activate the 25th Amendment, but Rep. Adam Kinzinger was the only Republican who sided with Democrats in the vote. After the earlier release of McCarthy's remarks, Trump said he "didn't like the call" but said McCarthy had made amends with a visit to Mar-a-Lago. (Read more Kevin McCarthy stories.)