Gaetz says he will act to unseat McCarthy for working with Democrats | ET REALITY


Rep. Matt Gaetz, the far-right Republican from Florida, said Sunday that he would take steps this week to remove President Kevin McCarthy from his leadership post, vowing to follow through on weeks of threats to try to remove him for working with Democrats to keep the can. funded by the government.

Gaetz’s announcement came the day after McCarthy, in a surprising about-face, sidestepped Republican opposition to a stopgap spending plan and turned to Democrats to help him push legislation through the House to avert a shutdown. . The California Republican said he knew he was jeopardizing his presidency by doing so and challenged his critics to take action against him.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Gaetz, McCarthy’s chief tormentor, said he would do just that. He said he would soon introduce a measure called a “motion of override,” which triggers an early vote on whether to keep the president in office.

“I think we have to rip off the Band-Aid,” Gaetz said. “I think we need to move forward with new leadership that can be trusted.”

McCarthy ignored the threat, predicting that Gaetz’s effort to remove him would fail and was motivated by a petty grudge rather than a substantive dispute.

“I’ll survive. You know this is personal with Matt,” he said during an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” accusing Gaetz of being “more interested in getting TV interviews than doing anything. He wanted to push us toward closure.”

“So be it, go ahead. Let’s end this and start governing,” McCarthy added. “If you’re upset because you tried to push us into a shutdown and I made sure the government didn’t shut down, then let’s fight.”

Gaetz had long threatened to oust McCarthy for reneging on several promises he made to hardline Republicans to win their support to become president, including demands for deep spending cuts. In the interview, he accused McCarthy of lying to his Republican members during spending negotiations and making a “secret deal” with Democrats over Ukraine funding, which he and dozens of other conservative Republicans have opposed.

“No one trusts Kevin McCarthy,” he added, predicting that the only way McCarthy would still be president at the end of the week is “if the Democrats bail him out.”

Although most House Republicans still support keeping McCarthy as speaker, Gaetz’s plans pose an existential threat to his tenure due to the GOP’s slim majority in the chamber. If Democrats were to vote against McCarthy (as they almost always do when a president from the opposing party is elected), Gaetz would only need a handful of Republicans to join the opposition to remove him from office, which requires a simple majority vote. .

To avoid that fate, at least some Democrats would have to vote to keep McCarthy in office, or simply skip the vote or vote “present,” neither for nor against. That would lower the threshold for a majority and make it easier to defeat Gaetz’s motion.

However, it is unclear whether Democrats would help McCarthy, particularly since he recently announced he would open an impeachment inquiry into President Biden despite lacking evidence of wrongdoing. Most Democrats view McCarthy as an untrustworthy figure who has spent months catering to the whims of his right wing, turning to Democrats only when his back is against the wall, as he did in the spring to avoid a federal debt default. and again on Saturday, during the final hours of the fiscal year, to keep the government open.

“I think it’s up to the Republican conference to determine its own leadership and address its own issues, but it’s not up to Democrats to save Republicans,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said on “State of the Union.” “

Ocasio-Cortez said she would “absolutely” vote to impeach McCarthy, calling him a weak leader who had lost control of House Republicans and expressing skepticism that he could offer Democrats anything to get their help.

“I don’t think we’ll give up free voting,” he said.

McCarthy said in his “Face the Nation” interview that House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., had not told him how he could vote on a motion to impeach the president.

It’s also unclear how many Republicans Gaetz might join in voting against McCarthy in the coming days. Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., who criticized McCarthy but also clashed with Gaetz in recent weeks, said during an interview on “Fox News Sunday” that he had not decided how he would vote on an override motion.

“I think he’s in trouble,” Donalds said of McCarthy, adding that he would “really have to think” about how he planned to vote.

Still, Gaetz expressed confidence that he would eventually gather enough votes among Democrats and Republicans to unseat McCarthy as president, even if his inaugural attempt this week fails.

“I may not have them the first time, but I may have them before the 15th vote,” Gaetz said on ABC’s “This Week,” making a direct reference to the number of tries it took McCarthy to secure his vote. president position. in January. He added: “I am relentless and will continue to pursue this goal.”

Gaetz did not say who he would like to replace McCarthy as speaker if he is deposed, arguing it would be unfair to speculate while the House’s second-ranking Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, is being dealt with. for cancer.

“I want to see how Steve Scalise comes out of that,” Gaetz said.

That left open the possibility that the House’s top job would remain vacant for some time, with McCarthy forced to resign and no one else able to muster the votes to replace him.

The situation has left top Republicans furious, including those in politically competitive districts who have worked to distance themselves from the far right of their party.

Rep. Mike Lawler, R-New York, accused Gaetz of being “misleading” and engaging in a “rant of delusional thoughts.” In an interview on ABC that aired just after Gaetz’s appearance, he accused the Florida Republican of breaking faith in the House GOP and its rules by moving ahead with the override motion when the majority of Republicans in the House did not share his animosity against Mr. McCarthy. He also argued that the move would undermine all the work Republicans had done to advance their conservative political agenda.

“This will all be torpedoed by one person who wants to file an eviction motion for personal political reasons,” Lawler said, noting, “We have to work together as a team.”

Chris Cameron contributed reports.

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