U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz claimed on Tuesday that he has enough votes to prevent current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy from becoming House speaker in January.
Speaking on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, he said that of the 36 Republicans who voted against McCarthy during the initial vote last week, five of them — which is apparently enough to stop his confirmation as speaker — have vowed to vote “no” again come the final vote in January.
“To catch everyone up, last week there were 36 votes against Kevin McCarthy in the Republican conference, and again, Kevin has had years to try to convince people of the worth of his candidacy. Since that time, zero of those 36 have come out to say, ‘You know what, I voted against McCarthy previously, but I’m now prepared to vote for him on the floor.’ Zero,” he said.
“Meanwhile, five members, which include myself, Andy Biggs, Bob Good, Matt Rosendale, and now most recently Ralph Norman, have all come out and said that our ‘no’ vote on McCarthy is firm. It was not just a no vote within the Republican conference. It is a ‘no’ vote we intend to carry to the floor,” he added.
Five is the magic number, he explained, “because Republicans are expected to hold a four-seat majority.”
“So five of us saying publicly we have no intention of voting for McCarthy—we are firm in our opposition to him—well, that ought to trigger a realization among Republicans that we need a consensus candidate. We need someone who is more broadly respected throughout the Republican conference, and we need someone who believes in a bottom-up, membership-empowered House of Representatives,” he continued.
The remarks from Gaetz came exactly a week after the Florida congressman held an entire press conference just to reiterate the same point — that McCarthy shouldn’t be speaker.
“I think we can do better. Right now we need new leadership. We need to turn the page. I think that we need someone who has broad credibility with conservatives and centrists and moderates throughout the conference, and I think what you just saw is that Kevin doesn’t have that,” he said during the presser, which occurred right after the first vote.
“I think that the conference is going to go through some soul-searching and we got to go through the stages of grief here a little bit. There are some still in denial, believing that 188 votes can get someone to be Speaker, and so once we move through that, I think ultimately we’ll work our way to acceptance for someone who has broad support throughout the conference and can unite us,” he added.
McCarthy is, for his part, confident that he has enough votes.
He’s “noted that former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was nominated 200-43 in 2015 before winning 236 votes the next day on the floor, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was nominated 203-32 before winning 220 on the House floor in 2019,” according to The Hill.
“His supporters also note that some who voted against McCarthy via secret ballot will not want to be on the record publicly opposing him in January,” The Hill reported Monday.
True. Plus even leftists like former Rep. Joe Walsh appear to believe that McCarthy somehow winning the speakership is a fait accompli. Though in Walsh’s case, the far-leftist believes McCarthy won’t be the real speaker, wink wink.
“Look, McCarthy will probably be Speaker, but let’s be real — Marjorie Taylor Greene these next two years will be Speaker of the House. She will have McCarthy by the short hairs every single day of the week for the next two years,” he said on MSNBC this past Sunday.
“McCarthy knows that. All McCarthy wants is to become speaker. So he has to do what Marjorie tells him to do,” he added.
But there’s zero evidence that McCarthy feels in any way, shape, or form beholden to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene will be the Speaker of the House. She will have McCarthy by the short hairs.”
@WalshFreedom says the American people don’t know who moderate House Republicans are, but they DO know who MTG is – and that matters to “hollow man” McCarthy. pic.twitter.com/HmksNEhUS7
— The Katie Phang Show (@katiephangshow) November 20, 2022
Continuing his remarks on Bannon’s podcast, Gaetz argued that McCarthy doesn’t deserve the speakership because of his mealy-mouthed behavior.
“When conflict arises, the human instinct is fight or flight, and we’ve seen time and again that Kevin McCarthy chooses flight. In the days following Jan. 6, he believed that Donald Trump should resign, and when I verbally criticized Liz Cheney, Kevin McCarthy said that might have been encouraging violence against people,” he said.
“And actually, in our country, we’re smart enough to know that when we engage in discourse and debate and, yes, sometimes even sharp criticism, that doesn’t green-light violence. Oftentimes that’s what stops a civilized society from devolving into violence,” the congressman added.
He was also critical of McCarthy’s past habit of not approving subpoenas.
“It’s interesting to see McCarthy going around talking about all the subpoenas he wants to issue, because when he was in the majority last, when he was the majority leader last, he did not utter one word in support of subpoenas that Jim Jordan and, at the time, Ron DeSantis and Mark Meadows and I were calling for on the House Judiciary Committee,” he said.
“So Kevin McCarthy will revert to his establishment mean the moment he gets power, and that’s why there are enough of us now, a critical mass, standing as a bulwark against his ascension to the speakership,” he added.
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