Advisers to Mr. Trump said that the two had spoken on Thursday morning, after the story became public, and had what they called “a good conversation.”
Another person familiar with the talks said that the two spoke again on Thursday night, after the audio was released showing that Mr. McCarthy’s denial had been a lie, and that Mr. Trump had not appeared to be rattled by the statements.
Mr. McCarthy’s prime concern on Friday, according to a person familiar with the situation, was about Republicans he thought would be upset by his private criticism of Mr. Trump — not those who might be alarmed by the fact that he had been exposed as a liar in denying it. As if to underline the point, Mr. McCarthy repeated the falsehood on Friday, telling reporters in Ridgecrest, Calif., “I never thought that he should resign.”
There were few expressions of outrage from Republican members of Congress about their leader — one who would be in line to succeed the president if he achieves his aspiration of being speaker of the House — having been caught in a falsehood. They appeared to be following the lead of Mr. Trump.
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 that the recording was first aired on an MSNBC broadcast hosted by Rachel Maddow, a frequent target of the right. “The speaker battle will happen after we win back the majority.”
Mr. McCarthy’s private expressions of outrage most likely did not come as any surprise to Mr. Trump, who was irate when the congressman criticized him immediately after the Capitol assault in an unusually sharp House floor speech, saying he “bears responsibility” for the riot and proposing that he be censured.
But Mr. McCarthy soon changed his tune after visiting the former president at his resort in Palm Beach, Fla. He walked back his condemnations, ultimately fought the creation of an inquiry and led an effort to purge Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, from her House leadership post for speaking out against Mr. Trump.
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