Locals react to McCarthy's comment that 'Putin pays' Trump

This screenshot from Twitter shows Congressman Kevin McCarthy's response to a Washington Post article that he said in 2016 that then-candidate Donald Trump got money from the Russian president.

Congressman Kevin McCarthy continues to defend himself after the Washington Post reported he was recorded saying Russian President Vladimir Putin paid then-candidate Donald Trump. This statement was reportedly made during a conversation last June.

McCarthy's is not denying he said those words, but he took to Twitter to claim he was only joking.

Here in Bakersfield, his constituents voiced their opinion on the leak. Some people defended the congressman, while others said they are concerned.

Matthew Martin, Kern County Young Republicans treasurer, echoed McCarthy's response and said, "I'm glad we have somebody in leadership who can take a joke and has a sense of humor."

Martin said he is not concerned that this conversation happened.

"There are all kinds of silly things, and sometimes people make a joke about something that's a stressful situation or something like this ... There is nothing to this," he said.

Tracy Lopez, member of Indivisible California 23rd Congressional District, said she disagrees and thinks this conversation needs to be taken seriously.

"I think that when you get caught saying something that maybe you shouldn't have said, then you look to pass it off as a joke, but I think what he said was pretty serious," she said.

Lopez said this is not something that should be "swept under a rug."

As for political fallout, Lopez said she thinks this will hurt McCarthy in the next election.

"McCarthy might be vulnerable at this point. I think that a lot of Republicans are vulnerable at this point, and I think the continued missteps have them more vulnerable," she said.

Martin does not believe that to be true.

"The election cycle was intense, and a joke I think was warranted," he said.

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