Mr Trump’s advisers said the pair spoke to each other on Thursday morning, after the story became public, and had what they called “a good talk”.
Another person familiar with the talks said the pair spoke to each other again on Thursday night, after audio emerged showing that Mr McCarthy’s denial was a lie and Mr Trump did not appear shaken by statements.
Mr. McCarthy’s main concern on Friday, according to a person familiar with the situation, was with Republicans who he said would be upset by his private criticism of Mr. Trump – not those who might be alarmed that he had been exposed as a liar by denying it. As if to underline the point, Mr McCarthy repeated the lie on Friday, telling reporters in Ridgecrest, Calif., “I never thought he should quit.”
There have been few expressions of outrage from Republican members of Congress over their leader – the one who would be in line to succeed the president if he achieves his aspiration to be Speaker of the House – having been taken in a lie. They seemed to be following Mr. Trump’s lead.
The former president “probably realizes this is all being driven by the left and the mainstream media,” said Jason Miller, an adviser to Mr Trump, noting that it would work in Mr McCarthy’s favor if the recording were released. for the first time on MSNBC. program hosted by Rachel Maddow, a frequent target of the right. “The battle of the speakers will take place after we recover the majority.”
Mr. McCarthy’s private expressions of outrage probably came as no surprise to Mr. Trump, who was furious when the congressman slammed him immediately after the Capitol stormed in an unusually sharp speech to the House, saying that he “bears responsibility” for the riot. and proposing that it be censored.
But Mr. McCarthy quickly changed his tune after visit the former president at its resort in Palm Beach, Florida. He backtracked on his convictions, eventually fought the creation of an inquiry and led an effort to purge Rep. Liz CheneyRepublican from Wyoming, from her leadership position in the House for speaking out against Mr. Trump.