Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.), a former Emmy-winning television news journalist, blasted the news media Wednesday after reporters peppered her with questions about an audio recording leaked to the New York Times. In the recording, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is heard criticizing former President Donald Trump and some of his House colleagues in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Last week, New York Times journalists Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin reported that McCarthy told members of the GOP leadership team, including then-conference chairwoman Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), that he would ask Trump to resign ahead of an expected impeachment effort by the Democrats. When McCarthy denied making the comments, the New York Times released an audio recording of a phone call in which he said that Trump’s behavior during the riot was “atrocious and totally wrong” and told Cheney he would advise the president to resign.
Though many pundits speculated that McCarthy would fall out of favor with Republicans and with Trump when the audio was leaked, the GOP leader reportedly received a standing ovation after addressing the report at a House GOP conference meeting Wednesday. McCarthy told his colleagues that his comments were just speculation about different scenarios that could’ve happened in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot.
After the meeting, reporters confronted Salazar and pointed out that McCarthy had lied to the press. But she shot back that the media was failing its duty by looking for “headlines” instead of reporting on issues that matter to Americans.
“I did this job for 35 years and I loved being a journalist, but you know, let me share something with you, we have a problem in this country with the news media,” Salazar told reporters.
She suggested that the news media has been “infiltrated by an ideology that I do not agree with” and said journalists “are not doing our job.”
“Now I am a member of the GOP, but I’m still an American. And shame on the media, and you know why? Because we’re concentrating, we’re trying to look for headlines on what is not important,” she said. “What’s important is that there’s a major threat in this country by what I call the socialists or the neo-Marxists.”
Acknowledging that her answer is not something they wanted to hear, Salazar told the press pool that they are “not fulfilling” their duty to the country.
“There’s a moment of reckoning,” Salazar continued. “What you guys are covering is not what the American people need to hear.”