Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was successful in ousting House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Tuesday after House Democrats and several other Republicans joined in voting for his motion to vacate the speakership.
Gaetz faced intense criticism from top Republicans and conservative leaders across the country for what many said was a personal vendetta that Gaetz had against McCarthy stemming from a House Ethics Committee investigation into misconduct allegations made against Gaetz.
“It’s to the benefit of this country that we have a better Speaker of the House than Kevin McCarthy,” Gaetz told reporters following the 216-206 vote. “Kevin McCarthy couldn’t keep his word. He made an agreement in January regarding the way Washington would work, and he violated that agreement. We are $33 trillion in debt. We are facing $2.2 trillion annual deficits. We face a de-dollarization globally that will crush Americans, working-class Americans.”
Gaetz claimed that McCarthy, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, was a “feature of the swamp” who rose to power “by collecting special interest money and redistributing that money in exchange for favors.”
Gaetz mocked the roughly 95% of Republican House members who backed McCarthy, saying, “The stages of grief I think are in progress right now with some of my colleagues. I think there was a stage of denial, and I’ve certainly experienced a good amount of their anger, and now we appear to be headed toward bargaining.”
He said that he could support House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), saying he would make a “phenomenal speaker.”
“I’m afraid of $33 trillion in debt crushing the working people in my district,” he said. “I’m afraid of the dollar losing its status as the global reserve currency. If they want to expel me, let me know when they have the vote.”
A reporter noted that Congress now has less than 45 days left before they have to pass a budget and asked if his move to oust McCarthy has “completely paralyzed the House,” adding there could be another 15 rounds of voting needed to find a new speaker.
“I don’t think we will,” Gaetz said. “I think Kevin McCarthy should take a hint after 15 ballots to become speaker. After eight months of a failed speakership and after removal in this historic manner. I think we should move on and find somebody else. What’s paralyzed the House of Representatives has been the failure of speaker McCarthy. What paralyzed the House of Representatives was not taking up appropriations bills — we left for a six week vacation, while the appropriations process hung in the balance.”
Gaetz said his actions represented a “ripping off of the bandaid,” which he said was needed to get the country back on track.
The other seven Republicans who sided with House Democrats included Reps. Andy Biggs (AZ), Ken Buck (CO), Eli Crane (AZ), Bob Good (VA), Matt Rosendale (MT), Tim Burchett (TN), and Nancy Mace (SC).
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks to reporters after throwing the GOP majority in the House into chaos with the historic vote to oust Kevin McCarthy as speaker. pic.twitter.com/j4gmOFLBHC
— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) October 3, 2023