Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz fervently defended his decision to challenge former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s position during a media appearance on Sunday.
“Absolutely,” Gaetz said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” when questioned whether his actions to remove McCarthy were worth it in light of the potential repercussions.
“Look, I’m here to fight for my constituents,” he continued, “and I’m here to ensure that America is not on a path to financial ruin.”
Gaetz, representing Florida and rumored to be considering a gubernatorial run, expressed his dissatisfaction with McCarthy’s choice to introduce a continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown on September 30. Gaetz’s preference was for Congress to address the 12 appropriation bills individually. McCarthy did eventually agree to this approach but only after endorsing the interim measure.
Several House Republicans have expressed their discontent with Gaetz’s actions. Some even discussed the possibility of removing him from the House Republican caucus. Gaetz responded to these threats with a dismissive, “That’s crazy.”
However, Gaetz committed to supporting either of the leading candidates to succeed McCarthy: Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan from Ohio or Majority Leader Steve Scalise from Louisiana.
“Yes. If either of those men get the most support of the conference, I’m eager to vote for him on the floor,” Gaetz confirmed when asked about these two candidates. He refrained from showing favoritism, noting his intention to await the Republican candidate forum on Tuesday.
Rep. Nancy Mace, a South Carolina representative who sided with Gaetz against McCarthy, publicly endorsed Jim Jordan. Mace praised Jordan for his “values, his work ethic, his ability to just run circles around everyone with regard to policy.” Mace expressed disappointment in McCarthy for not addressing women’s issues during his tenure. McCarthy, however, refuted her claims of broken promises.
The removal of McCarthy is historically significant. It marks the first instance of a house speaker being ousted due to internal dissent. The last motion to vacate a speaker position occurred in 1910 against then-Speaker Joseph Cannon. Only three such motions have ever been presented.
The House of Representatives currently operates under the leadership of Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry from North Carolina. McHenry’s role, being unprecedented, has sparked discussions about his authority, especially concerning the introduction of bills on the House floor.
On a global scale, Israel faces conflict, Ukraine’s aid is dwindling, and the U.S. approaches the November 17 deadline for a potential government shutdown.
Many prominent Republicans have expressed their concerns about the turmoil in Washington, D.C. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis commented on “Fox News Sunday” about the political drama. He stated that the American people are less concerned about the identity of the House speaker and more focused on effective governance. The 2024 Republican presidential contender concluded, “They just want to see the job get done.”
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