Gaetz threatens to resign from Congress ‘if Democrats join up to elect a moderate Republican’ as speaker

As the House of Representatives devolves into an ongoing spectacle worthy of a Roman arena, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is vowing that “if Democrats join up to elect a moderate Republican,” he will resign from Congress rather than answer to Kevin McCarthy as speaker.

(Video Credit: Fox News)

GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has lost 11 ballots seeking to elect him as speaker. He has been unable to garner 218 votes to wield the gavel as of Friday morning. There are only 222 Republicans in the House of Representatives and he could only lose four of them and still prevail. He has lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 20. A 12th ballot is set to occur on Friday at noon.

U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) went so far as to basically refer to those standing against McCarthy as enemies of the state and got hammered for it.

Gaetz spoke with Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Thursday and did not hold back or hesitate in the least.

“Are you going to be OK, Congressman, will you be OK then if there’s ultimately a deal struck with moderate Democrats if Democrats kind of co-control committees? You’re fine with that?” Ingraham asked Gaetz.

(Video Credit: Fox News)

“No, absolutely not. That will not happen. There are two scenarios here…” he began to answer.

“Well, that’s what happened,” Ingraham interjected.

“No, listen. I’m on the floor, Laura. These 212 Democrats are going to vote for Hakeem Jeffries every single time. He is a historic candidate for them. They are not going to cleave off under any circumstance. I assure you if Democrats join up to elect a moderate Republican, I will resign from the House of Representatives. That is how certain I am. I can assure your viewers that won’t happen,” he adamantly asserted.

Earlier in the day, Gaetz gave a barn-burner speech setting the House on fire as he vowed to nominate former President Trump for Speaker of the House.

(Video Credit: Matt Gaetz)

Gaetz appears to be open to electing Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) as Speaker if he accepts rules presented to House GOP leadership by the Freedom Caucus. Gaetz said he prefers Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who has been repeatedly nominated for the position but is not even close to the necessary 218 votes. He’s also a supporter of McCarthy and doesn’t want the job since he has investigations to conduct. He is also a close ally of former President Trump who supports McCarthy.

Jordan is a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, serving as its first chair from 2015 to 2017, and as its vice chair since 2017. He was the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee from 2019 to 2020. He left that position to become the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, where he is expected to become chairman in the newly GOP-held House.

Gaetz also discussed not allowing McCarthy a chance to swing the vote using absent Democrats as leverage.

“My conversations with Democrats have largely been about making sure that they don’t leave the floor for dinner or fundraisers or whatnot. We need them to stay there so that the denominator in the equation on the election of the speaker allows us to have leverage to push for many of the things we’ve been discussing,” Gaetz said.

“If enough Democrats are absent for a vote, that could give McCarthy the majority he needs to become speaker,” the Florida congressman told Ingraham during the interview.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was seen speaking with Gaetz on the House floor Tuesday. The Democratic congresswoman told The Intercept that during that conversation, she assured Gaetz that her party would not help McCarthy get the votes he needs.

“McCarthy was suggesting he could get Dems to walk away to lower his threshold,” Ocasio-Cortez said in the interview. “And I fact-checked and said absolutely not.”

“If you want to drain the swamp, you cannot put the biggest alligator in charge of the exercise,” Gaetz said on Tuesday. “I’m a Florida man and I know of what I speak.”

Democrats are losing patience as well. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) lost it on the House floor on Thursday, saying, “This is my 9th vote for Hakeem Jefferies. Matt Rosendale, get it together.”

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