The decade's most triggering comedy
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), no longer burdened by trying to keep the entire Republican Conference together after being removed as Speaker of the House on Wednesday, gave blunt answers to reporters during a press conference following the historic vote in the House.
McCarthy said that there were a lot of ways that he could continue to serve the American people without having to be Speaker of the House and that it wasn’t worth risking paralyzing Congress if only a few Republicans who did not like him for personal reasons were so committed to keeping him out of the position.
“I think you should put the country first. You know, this job was never about me,” he said, later adding: “Why [would] I do something for myself that can hurt the country? I’m not quite sure those individuals are looking to be productive. It concerns me as a Republican based upon watching what they do.”
McCarthy said that it was a mistake helping elect many of the eight Republicans who voted to oust him, which included Reps. Matt Gaetz (FL), Andy Biggs (AZ), Ken Buck (CO), Eli Crane (AZ), Bob Good (VA), Matt Rosendale (MT), Tim Burchett (TN), and Nancy Mace (SC).
“These are the same people that sat on the floor and criticized me that we didn’t get all 12 spending bills done,” he said. “They held up every appropriation bill in the summer because they wouldn’t let it come through. After the debt ceiling, they stopped us from doing anything on the floor.”
McCarthy said that Gaetz told him back in January that he wanted a rule implemented that would allow a single member to file a motion to vacate and that he promised to never use it.
He said those Republicans who voted against his original stopgap spending bill voted against making spending cuts, voted against border security, and later partnered with Democrats to remove him — thus showing that they are not conservative.
“They are not conservatives. They voted against, one, the greatest cut in history that Congress has ever voted for,” he said. “They voted against work requirements. They voted against NIPA reform. They voted against border security. They voted against guns. They don’t get to say they’re conservative because they’re angry and they’re chaotic. That’s not the party I belong to. The party of Reagan was if you believed in your principles, that you could govern in a conservative way. They are not conservatives and they do not have the right to have the title.”
McCarthy slammed Gaetz at various points throughout the press conference and urged reporters to not believe every word that comes out of Gaetz’s mouth.
“You all know Matt Gaetz. You know it was personal,” he said. “It had nothing to do about spending. Everything he accused somebody of, he was doing. It all was about getting attention from you. I mean, we’re getting e-mail fundraisers from him as he’s doing it. ‘Join in quickly.’ That’s not governing. That’s not becoming of a member of Congress. And regardless of what you think, I’ve seen the texts, it was all about his ethics. But that’s all right.”
McCarthy’s remarks about “it was all about his ethics” was a reference to the House Ethics Committee investigation into Gaetz over allegations that Gaetz “may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity, or impermissible gift,” according to a report from the Committee.
McCarthy pointed to remarks made by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) — who he referred to as “the hardest-line” person in the conference — on the House floor earlier in the day in which Massie defended McCarthy’s speakership.
“When Gaetz said I didn’t follow the rules, show me one place,” McCarthy said. “You saw Thomas Massie, who is the hardest-line person, say we followed all the rules, all the time, that he was in the room when the agreement was made, and then we surpassed what we said we would do.”
McCarthy suggested toward the end of the press conference that he is going to get involved in primary races now that he is “a free agent” and he is “pretty good at electing people.”
He also highlighted all the information that Republicans have been able to uncover about alleged Biden family corruption through investigative powers that the committees have.