McCarthy: The GOP could do without Gaetz, and that's for the best
In an interview published on Thursday, former House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) harshly slammed Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), claiming that the Republican Party would be better off "tremendously" without Gaetz.
“Tremendously,” McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju when asked during their one-on-one interview how much the GOP would benefit if the Florida congressman weren’t around, as The Hill reported.
“People have to earn the right to be here,” McCarthy continued. “I mean, he’ll admit to you personally, he doesn’t have a conservative bent in his philosophy. And just the nature of what he focuses on.”
McCarthy said it's "up to the conference" whether to try to expel Gaetz and when asked whether the GOP should take that step: “I don’t believe the conference would ever heal if there’s no consequences for the action,” McCarthy added.
Rift Between the Two
More than a month has passed since Gaetz's forced vote on a motion to vacate the chair, a procedural action that ultimately led to McCarthy's removal as Speaker.
The vote to remove McCarthy was supported by eight Republicans, including Gaetz. For three weeks, the Republican caucus in the House was in disarray over who would succeed McCarthy as speaker.
The gavel was eventually passed to an obscure Louisiana Republican named Mike Johnson.
Over the course of several weeks, Gaetz and McCarthy's animosity came to a head as they publicly attacked one another.
On Thursday, in response to McCarthy's attack, Gaetz harshly criticized the California Republican on his podcast, saying, "Mr. former Speaker, thoughts and prayers as you're going through all of your stages of grief here."
Gaetz also replied explicitly to the suggestion that the House GOP should oust him.
“If what Kevin McCarthy wants is to make a motion to throw me out of the Republican conference, I guess all I can really say is bring the effing motion,” he said.
“The notion that the Republican conference is going to kick me out for doing something that was exceedingly popular, seems unlikely.
“The decision to fire McCarthy and replace him with Mike Johnson has been popular — popular with Democrats, popular with Republicans, popular with independents. It may be one of the most popular things House Republicans have done.”
The Florida lawmaker has been known to ruffle the feathers of members of both parties, and has faced investigations by the Congressional Ethics Committee, and by federal investigators over alleged illegal activities.