Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has strong feelings regarding the need to oppose Kevin McCarthy’s bid to be speaker of the House. After seven rounds of voting, McCarthy is no closer to sitting in the speaker’s chair. In fact, it can be argued that he is losing ground.
During a Thursday interview with Fox News, Gaetz was asked if there was anything McCarthy could do or promise to secure his vote. Gaetz indicated the answer was no, saying, “I’m not voting for McCarthy.”
Gaetz conceded, however, that McCarthy (R-CA) may be elected speaker, but noted that if he was, the new speaker would have to operate in a “straitjacket.”
Gaetz noted that over the last three days, McCarthy has promised “everything” to the 20 Republicans blocking his path to victory. His full-court-press efforts, including enlisting a new endorsement from former President Donald Trump, have yet to prove successful.
Rep. Gaetz summed up the situation:
“There are only two outcomes here: Either Kevin McCarthy withdraws from the speaker’s race, or he has to wake up every morning and put on the world’s best constructive straitjacket before doing the prayer and the pledge at the beginning of House session.”
Gaetz added that several Republicans opposing McCarthy were already working on “how to construct that straitjacket.”
Gaetz expressed doubt that McCarthy could find a way to secure the 218 votes necessary to win the speaker position, saying: “Kevin McCarthy has offered everything he can think to offer and everything we can think to ask for due to his current state of desperation, and I can’t tell you whether or not that will be enough to get him there.”
Gaetz added: “I doubt it will.”
McCarthy’s support has decreased from 203 votes in the first round of voting to 201 votes in the seventh round.
McCarthy himself presented a rather pessimistic outlook. Fox reports that before Thursday’s vote, McCarthy was asked if he expected today’s vote to follow Tuesday and Wednesday’s trend of yielding disappointing results. McCarthy replied: “Yeah, pretty much.”
The speaker hopeful added, “Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. I wouldn’t read anything into the votes today.”
The House will reconvene on Friday.
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