After compromising with Democrats to avoid a government shut down, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) is facing a fresh revolt from his right, led by Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.).
In an unexpected turn, McCarthy received some indirect words of support from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) - who dismissed Gaetz as a clout-chasing charlatan.
An agreement McCarthy brokered with his right flank allows any single member to call a motion to vacate the Speaker's chair. Gaetz, after months of threatening to call a motion, made good on those warnings Monday.
Gaetz had tipped his hand Sunday in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper.
“I think we need to rip off the Band-Aid. I think we need to move on with new leadership that can be trustworthy,” he said.
While McCarthy enjoys relatively robust support among House Republicans, it's uncertain how Democrats will vote. Pelosi urged Democrats to "follow the leader," Hakeem Jeffries (Ny.). when asked by Tapper how Democrats should handle the situation.
Echoing comments she has made in the past about internet celebrities like AOC, Pelosi dismissed Gaetz's influence in real-world politics.
“You’re wasting your time on that guy because he has no sway in the House of Representatives, except to get on TV and raise money on the internet,” she said.
She characterized the continuing resolution that McCarthy ushered through Congress as a rebuke of "the MAGAs."
"Hakeem Jeffries has done a great job yesterday. We had a victory in the continuing resolution. It was a victory for Democrats, a defeat for the MAGAs," she said.
McCarthy brokered the funding deal at the 11th hour on Saturday, hours before a government shut down. The move was blasted by some Republicans as a betrayal and further evidence that McCarthy hasn't held up his commitments to cut spending.
Whether Gaetz truly has "no sway" will come to the test. But Gaetz has made it clear he is counting on Democrats to cross the aisle for the motion to succeed, telling his colleagues they have a choice whether to "bail out our failed speaker.”
With tensions flaring, some McCarthy backers have discussed expelling Gaetz in retaliation for his repeated threats.
McCarthy has been similarly dismissive of Gaetz, tweeting: "Bring it on."
Bring it on.
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) October 2, 2023