Hardliner conservatives have long opposed House Speaker McCarthy. They brought chaos to the House at the beginning of the year, when they defied his original nomination. These Republicans further brought confusion and chaos recently, when they risked a government shutdown.
Despite McCarthy achieving a win for the party, Rep. Matt Gaetz threatened him. The Florida Republican has been accused of trying to distract from his own ethics violations by motioning to remove McCarthy from the speakership.
Such a move would throw the House into chaos, giving Democrats an opening to attack and criticize Republicans. Despite the danger this would pose to the upcoming elections, Gaetz went ahead with his plan.
From The Post Millennial:
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz brought a motion to vacate House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from leadership. He stood before Congress in an anticipated move.
“Mr Speaker,” he began, “Pursuant to Rule 2(a)(1) of Rule 9 I rise to give notice of my intent to raise a question of the privileges of the House.”
It does not look likely that most Republicans would side with Gaetz. Members of the Freedom Caucus, who also had previously opposed McCarthy, do not seem on board with this move.
The majority of Freedom Caucus members oppose Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) motion to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), including many of whom initially opposed McCarthy’s bid for leader of the House.
Despite this, McCarthy does not appear optimistic that he will keep the gavel. Gaetz would need every Democrat and a handful of Republicans to get his way. McCarthy seemed to think that would happen.
Kevin McCarthy says he will likely be removed as Speaker today: “Probably so.” pic.twitter.com/EPiaDdmOC7
— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) October 3, 2023
One of the claims Gaetz made against McCarthy was that the Speaker was conspiring with Democrats. Yet Gaetz will need to rely on Democrat votes to get McCarthy removed. This move, if successful, would plunge the House into chaos.
Congress will have to select a new speaker. But with hardliner Republicans refusing to cooperate with the rest of the party, it would give Democrats a chance to elect their own Speaker. Even with a Republican majority, Democrats could still end up calling the shots.
This does not bode well for the GOP, going into 2024. They gained a slim majority in the House after 2022—and they spent most of 2023 fighting and sabotaging each other. Joe Biden and his party will only use this to convince voters to back them, in the next election.
Former President Trump, for his part, rebuked the GOP for this infighting, which he suggested gave Democrats the upper hand.
It’s unclear why Rep. Gaetz would pull this move, outside of getting attention for himself.
UPDATE: Matt Gaetz, in astonishing fashion, was successful in vacating the Speaker’s seat in a vote of 216-210. Now the parties must decide who to support for Speaker. Kevin McCarthy may run again.
- Republican Rep. Gaetz filed a motion to remove McCarthy from the Speakership.
- Most Freedom Caucus members do not support the move.
- McCarthy predicted that Democrats would side with Gaetz to remove him, plunging the House into chaos.