Matt Gaetz sets House on fire, nominates Trump for Speaker, rages against ‘squatter’ McCarthy

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) went all-in on Thursday evening, nominating former President Trump for Speaker of the House in an impassioned speech that railed against “squatter” Kevin McCarthy and set the House of Representatives ablaze in deepening drama.

(Video Credit: Matt Gaetz)

Gaetz, who is one of the conservatives in the “Never Kevin” movement, took to the floor fiercely proclaiming that McCarthy should be ousted from the speaker’s office as the beleaguered California moderate failed in an 11th vote on Thursday to wield the gavel. An event like the one unfolding in the House of Representatives has not happened since 1859.

“Taxes were cut, regulations were slashed, energy was abundant, wages were rising, capital was returning from overseas to fund the dreams and ambitions of our fellow Americans, and the economy was roaring,” Gaetz said at the beginning of his barn-burning speech.

“What a contrast to what we have seen from this administration now. And so I rise to nominate Donald Trump for the position of Speaker of the House and for all of the vitriol that we hear from the media. And at times the left. There were great moments of bipartisanship under the Trump presidency,” he declared.

Then he praised Democrat nominee Hakeem Jeffries for his work on criminal justice reform before flaming McCarthy even further.

“And the Democrat nominee for speaker knows that well because he led valiantly on the efforts for criminal justice reform. And I was honored to join him. And I know no matter who’s sitting in that speaker chair, we’ve got a lot of work to do on that very issue,” Gaetz stated.

“We took a first step, but there is a second step and a third step to take. And I’m glad that we were able to work with President Trump, with Republicans, and with Democrats to provide real outcomes for Americans to create greater prosperity and more opportunity. I also care deeply about President Trump’s focus on our nation’s veterans,” he added.

As Gaetz ticked off Trump’s accomplishments while president, a heckler interrupted him, yelling, “He tried to overthrow the government!” The House was brought back to order and the Florida Republican continued his fiery speech.

“This government for far too long has been deeply corrupt. This town has been deeply corrupt. The way people get leadership positions and chairmanships and opportunities to be able to morally preen has been by accepting lobbyists and special interest money and redistributing that money as currency for favors. And that is not a criticism of either political party. It is a criticism of what we have allowed to happen in this place,” he raged from the floor.

“And if we just go next man up on our side of the aisle, we will reverify that corrupt system and we will abandon the people who are expecting us to fight for them. I have heard from my colleagues about all the important work we have to do, and it is my sincere fear that if we were to allow Mr. McCarthy to assume the speakership, that would not get done, that it would be business as usual. And the very same things that have paralyzed progress for both parties would continue to shackle us to never-ending failure. We can be better than that,” Gaetz asserted.

“We can raise our gaze. Indeed. We also have to restore to the speaker’s office an actual person that ought to be in the speaker’s office, not the squatter who is currently there. And if the architect of the capital is listening. I sent a letter and I would like to know what the basis is to allow somebody to occupy the speaker’s office who comes in second place ten straight times. Is there like some basis in law or rule or precedent for that? And so I nominate President Trump because we must make our country great again. And he could start by making the House of Representatives great again,” he concluded.

Gaetz also appeared on Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s show and flatly stated that Trump was wrong to support McCarthy for the position.

(Video Credit: Matt Gaetz)

On Thursday’s edition of “The Ingraham Angle,” Gaetz doubled down on his opposition to McCarthy and said he would never vote for him, making it clear this is personal.

“You know on the establishment issues, I’m totally with you,” Ingraham said to Gaetz. “But I’m always also about the art of the possible. What’s possible here? So, you did get a number of concessions that, I’m not sure if I’m on the other side I would’ve given you, but a number of concessions from McCarthy in an attempt to get to 218.”

“He lowered the threshold of the votes required to begin the process of removing himself as speaker,” she said. “He also agreed to keep his own PAC out of GOP primaries and also to add more Freedom Caucus members to the House Rules Committee. And I understand he also signed on to a separate approval process for earmarks and allowed floor votes on term limits for members and specific border policy legislation. What else do you require that he do or agree to before Matt Gaetz will say, ‘Ok, I’m onboard?’”

The congressman responded, “I wouldn’t be betting on my vote for Kevin McCarthy under almost any circumstance.”

Ingraham called Gaetz out for making the whole crazed issue personal.

“So, it’s personal then,” she told him. “You just made this principled point. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say, ‘I’m a man of principle and I believe in X, Y, and Z, but if he gives me X, Y, and Z, I’m not gonna vote for him.’ What? How does that make sense?”

“Here’s how it makes sense, Laura,” Gaetz replied. “Kevin McCarthy is the masthead of the lobby corps. And I resent the extent to which Kevin McCarthy utilizes the lobbyists and the special interests to be able to dictate how political decisions are made, how policy decisions are made, and how leadership decisions are made. Kevin McCarthy has been in the leadership for 14 years. And he has sold shares of himself to special interests, to political action committees, and so that’s why I don’t think he is an appropriate choice.”

Ingraham pointed out that Trump is backing McCarthy despite the opposition against him.

“But why is Trump for him?” she asked Gaetz. “How many posts on Truth Social can we see from President Trump telling y’all, ‘Ok, this has been fun, but let’s wrap it up here.’ Is he wrong?”

“I love President Trump. I defended him a great deal in Congress, but HR wasn’t always his strong suit,” Gaetz criticized. “President Trump got us folks like Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr and Jim Mattis and Mark Esper – people who didn’t always advance an America First policy.”

“So you say he’s wrong on that?” Ingraham shot back.

“I do,” he replied. “I think President Trump is wrong to the extent that he supports Kevin McCarthy. I’m gonna support President Trump when he runs for election in 2024, but I’m not going to back him on this play.”

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