WATCH: Gaetz Grilled Over Paralyzing Congress As War Breaks Out In Middle East
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) attends a House Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber, Information Technologies and Innovation hearing about artificial intelligence on Capitol Hill July 18, 2023 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was grilled during an interview Sunday over whether his actions last week, which effectively paralyzed Congress just prior to war breaking out in the Middle East, were “irresponsible.”

Gaetz made the remarks during an interview with Kristen Welker on NBC News’ “Meet The Press” when asked about his motion to vacate the speaker, which resulted in the Speaker of the House being removed for the first time in U.S. history.

Welker noted remarks that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who was the speaker until last week, made over the weekend in light of the terror attacks in Israel.

“The fact that the House of Representatives is leaderless at this important moment. Why would you ever remove a speaker during a term and raise a doubt around the world?” McCarthy said.

“Did your actions this week to remove the speaker undermine U.S. national security and safety?” Welker asked.

“Well, I don’t think that other countries think about Kevin McCarthy’s speakership quite as much as Kevin McCarthy does,” Gaetz said. “We’ll have a new speaker next week, and we’ll be prepared to do our work.”

Gaetz said that McCarthy was removed for breaking promises with some members of Congress — while more than 200 Republicans voted to keep him as Speaker. McCarthy has stated that he believes Gaetz’s actions were personal and that they were motivated based on a House Ethics Committee investigation into him.

Gaetz did say that what was going on in Israel was horrifying and Israel had every right to defend itself.


“Congressman, you say that you stand with Israel, you’re ready to defend Israel,” Welker said. “And yet you’re completely incapable of helping Israel because you’ve brought Congress to a standstill, a state of paralysis. Have you not?”

Mixed with some cross-talk, Gaetz replied: “We have a ten-year, ongoing memorandum of understanding that sends Israel almost $4 [billion] … but what [Secretary of State Antony Blinken] said was there was no need in Israel that we’re not going to be able to meet based on the funding that we’ve already approved for Israel. And the reason we have this multibillion-dollar commitment each and every year to Israel is because we want Israel to have a qualitative military edge over everyone in the region. They have that edge. Israel has air superiority now; we are seeing their armored vehicles in the north. … there is no ask from Israel that we are unable to meet because it’s going to take us a few days to pick a new Speaker.”


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