Christie Denies McCarthy 'Lies,' Says Voters Don't Care in Tense Interview

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Sunday defended House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy after he was accused of lying in a recently leaked audio recording.

In an interview on ABC's This Week, Christie sparred with host Jonathan Karl over the contents of the recording in which McCarthy was heard telling fellow lawmakers that former President Donald Trump should resign from office after the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. McCarthy has denied that he ever said he wanted Trump to resign, causing his credibility to now be questioned.

The former governor attempted to defend McCarthy by claiming that he said Trump's resignation should only occur if the Senate voted to convict him. However, Karl shot back by stating that the recording showed otherwise.

"I have to say, with all due respect, Governor Christie, I don't think you're characterizing what was on that tape accurately," Karl said. "There's no way to listen to that tape and think that Kevin McCarthy told the truth. That tape, you hear Kevin McCarthy saying I've had it with that guy, referring to Donald Trump."

Chris Christie
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie defended House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Sunday. Above, Christie speaks on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Christie then argued that the recording doesn't show the full context of the conversation, and continued to say that voters don't care about the issue in the first place.

"Look, you know who cares about this?" Christie asked. "You know, maybe five people in Washington, DC. The voters across the country could care less about this. This is the rearview mirror stuff that the American people don't care about when they're paying $5 a gallon for gas, when they've got 8.5 percent inflation and can't buy their groceries and when there is crime all over the streets in our major cities. They just don't care, John. And that's why the story doesn't get any traction outside Washington, DC."

The former governor's defense came as other Republicans have recently slammed the House minority leader over the leaked tapes. The Lincoln Project, a Republican PAC, issued an ad earlier this week claiming that there are "two Kevin McCarthy's."

"Kevin McCarthy lied to reporters about not wanting Donald Trump to resign and Kevin's lying now about supporting Trump," Reed Galen, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, said in a statement. "Kevin is lying to his donors to keep the money flowing and he's betting that Trump's a sucker who'll buy his excuses.

The Republican Accountability Project (RAP), an anti-Trump conservative group, also posted billboard ads in McCarthy's California district urging him to "stop lying."

Still, other Republicans joined Christie in defending him. The House minority leader reportedly received a standing ovation from colleagues after defending himself during a House GOP conference meeting this week.

Newsweek contacted McCarthy's office for additional comment.