Kevin McCarthy takes off the gloves, gets personal over ouster – Matt Gaetz fires back

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy appeared to blame his historic removal on Rep. Matt Gaetz, saying it was “because he slept with a 17-year-old.”

The former California congressman was speaking with Mo Elleithee of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service on Tuesday when he declared “the truth” about why he lost the speakership last October.

Elleithee suggested that McCarthy’s many concessions in negotiating with fellow lawmakers led to his demise as speaker but McCarthy was having none of that narrative.

“That is such a misnomer in life. Let me give you the truth about that, and I’ll give you the truth why I’m not speaker,” he said at the Georgetown University talk called “How Strong Is Our Democracy?”

“It is because one person, a member of Congress, wanted me to stop an ethics complaint because he slept with a 17-year-old, an ethics complaint that started before I ever became speaker, and that’s illegal, and I’m not gonna get in the middle,” McCarthy continued.

“Did he do it or not? I don’t know, but Ethics is looking at it. There’s other people in jail because of it, and he wanted me to influence it,” he claimed.

In April 2021, the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation of Gaetz which was paused when President Biden’s Department of Justice also jumped on the bandwagon to investigate the Florida Republican.

While the DOJ did not end up bringing any charges against him, the Ethics Committee got back in the game with its probe.

McCarthy did not mention Gaetz by name but it was evident that was whom he was referring to in the talk.

And Gaetz was not about to take the insult quietly. He soon shot back in a fiery response on X, saying, “Kevin McCarthy is a liar.”

“That’s why he is no longer speaker. Just ask the 224 people who voted to remove him,” he added.

“I’d do it all over again. We’re not gonna pay our troops? No, I’m gonna pay my troops,” McCarthy said. “When it comes to the concession, the motion to vacate about one person being able to make that motion, how long has that been in the rules … forever.”

“The only time it was changed is when Pelosi became speaker the second time, and she put the power with the minority leader,” he added, noting that the rules package requires 218 votes to pass and he had to contend with five people who never supported him.

“I think, today, if you went back to the people that voted, do they think that was a smart vote, I don’t think so,” he said. “I had the choice of having that vote of motion to vacate where you just put the cards in and walk away.”

“No, I made everybody stand up because I think, historically, it’ll be viewed as a very bad thing to happen to our Congress,” the former speaker added.

Though McCarthy may have thought he made a good argument, many on social media were not buying it.

Frieda Powers


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