Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one of the leaders in the conservative movement, surprised many Republicans when on the floor of the House on Jan 5 he nominated former President Donald Trump for the position of speaker of the House — a position Rep. Kevin McCarthy ultimately won after 15 rounds of voting.
Gaetz surprised many again when he revealed why he made the unusual recommendation. The disclosure came during a recent interview with Jeremy Herrell on the online “Live From America” TV show.
During the interview, Herrell said to a smiling Gaetz, “Now you threw a little curve ball in there when you nominated President Trump for speaker of the House. And I think Twitter broke after that.”
Gaetz offered a tongue in cheek response: “Yes, President Trump found that to be very interesting, and I wanted a way to stop him from calling me.”
Gaetz followed up his nomination by voting for the former president in rounds seven and eight. Seeing he was the solitary supporter of his recommendation, he began voting for Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) or Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) in later rounds.
Notably, in the 15 rounds of voting, Gaetz did not support Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and publicly opposed his bid for speaker. Gaetz said at a press briefing, “If you want to drain the swamp, you can’t put the biggest alligator in the pond in charge of the exercise.”
Trump, however, did endorse McCarthy — the new speaker thanked the former president after the final vote: “I do want to especially thank President Trump. I don’t think anybody should doubt his influence.”
Since the final vote, McCarthy has praised Gaetz for his leadership, and Gaetz has stated that “he was pleased” with McCarthy’s work thus far.
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