Tensions rise within House GOP as they move toward government shutdown | ET REALITY



Tensions are rising within the House Republican conference as a government shutdown approaches, and infighting spills into public view and becomes increasingly ugly.

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida has been at the center of much of the drama, attacking President Kevin McCarthy on personal terms. But he is also embroiled in social media feuds with fellow hardline conservatives who helped negotiate a House Republican plan to fund the government, first revealed Sunday night.

Rep. Byron Donalds, also a Florida Republican, responded to Gaetz’s criticism of the plan, writing on social media: “Matt, tell people the truth. …What is your plan to get the votes to defund Jack Smith? You’ll need more than tweets and hot takes!!

Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas conservative who helped reach the deal, also sharply criticized the hardline opposition, saying on a conservative radio show: “I don’t know if we’ll have the votes or not, because I have a lot of friends. conservatives who like to beat their chest and say, ‘Oh, this isn’t pure enough.’”

Even if the plan passed the House, it would most likely be dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate. But McCarthy will need the support of virtually his entire conference to pass the negotiated deal in a narrowly divided House. McCarthy can only afford to lose four GOP votes on a continuing resolution agreement without relying on Democrats.

Meanwhile, Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Indiana, issued a statement Monday calling McCarthy “weak” and saying they need party leadership that wants to fight for the country, not just fight for “power and an image in Wall”.

McCarthy, in response, told reporters: “One thing I learned in life: Anyone who criticizes you has never worked harder than you. If Victoria is worried about fighting harder, I wish she would run again and not give up. I mean, I’m not going to quit. “I’m going to continue working for the American public.”

Spartz has previously announced that he will not seek re-election to his House seat.

Gaetz then took to social media and called McCarthy’s comments “disgraceful” and accused the spokesperson of “attacking” women.

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has also been forceful in pushing back against her Republican colleagues who support the government funding plan. She posted a lengthy video rebutting Donalds, who called Greene’s understanding of the bill “incorrect.”

Greene also lashed out at inflammatory social media posts (and “Shrek” memes) to criticize support for Ukraine funding and criticized her colleagues who wore Ukrainian badges to show support for the war-torn nation. Gaetz also appeared to mock McCarthy for wearing a Ukraine pin by posting a photo of the speaker wearing one, which was later shared by Rep. Eli Crane, a conservative Republican from Arizona.

The confusing infighting shows the challenge McCarthy faces as he works to bargain for votes to avoid a government shutdown, protect his presidency and deal with the complicated optics of Ukraine funding as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits the Capitol this week.

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Arkansas, summed up the situation on NBC’s “MTP Daily” on Monday: “It’s an absolute disaster right now for the majority side.”

Donalds, weighing in on the infighting, told reporters as he left a meeting in McCarthy’s office that “politics can sometimes get brutal. That’s just part of it.”

“But you know, that’s why I have Kevlar skin. I don’t have thick skin, it’s Kevlar,” Donalds said, wearing a pair of black aviator sunglasses inside. “So if you want to provoke attacks, do it. I’m ready.”

Tensions have risen since Republicans returned from a six-week recess. Gaetz had taken his criticism of McCarthy to the House floor, threatening to oust the California Republican from his presidency using a process called a motion to override. McCarthy held a heated conference behind closed doors last Thursday, challenging his critics to continue.

“Move the damn motion,” he said, according to four sources in the room.

On Monday night, McCarthy struck a more optimistic tone after meeting with the Republican factions of his conference, colloquially referred to on Capitol Hill as “the five families.”

“I’m always more confident! Life is good,” McCarthy told reporters when asked if he feels safer after the meeting.

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