Florida Representative Matt Gaetz said he will file a motion to vacate Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House this week.
Discussions to vacate McCarthy’s seat have been raised in recent weeks after a potential government shutdown was averted when Congress passed a short-term funding bill late Saturday. The bill did not include funding for Ukraine, which has been a priority for Democrats and some Republicans in Congress.
Shortly after the bill’s approval, it was revealed McCarthy had made a secret deal with Democrats in the House to allocate future aid for Ukraine.
During a Monday appearance on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Gaetz, who has been an outspoken critic of McCarthy, said he will file a motion to vacate McCarthy as Speaker.
“Speaker McCarthy made an agreement with House conservatives in January,” Gaetz said, referring to McCarthy’s historically contested Speaker vote. “Since then, he’s been in brazen, repeated, material breach of that agreement.”
The Florida representative said McCarthy’s agreement with House Democrats on the short-term government funding bill was the “last straw.”
“Then overnight I learned that Kevin McCarthy had a secret deal with Democrats on Ukraine,” Gaetz said.
“As he was baiting Republicans to vote for a continuing resolution without Ukraine money, saying we were gonna jam the Senate on Ukraine, he then turns around and makes a secret deal,” he said.
Gaetz noted Tapper disagreed with his and other House Republicans’ aversion to aiding Ukraine. Gaetz said McCarthy’s back-room deal with Democrats should be subject to “open review” and “analysis” by Republicans in Congress.
Tapper asked Gaetz if he would file a motion to vacate McCarthy, to which the Florida representative said, “I do intend to file a motion to vacate against Speaker McCarthy this week.”
“I think we need to rip off the Band-Aid. I think we need to move on with new leadership that can be trustworthy,” Gaetz said, adding “nobody trusts” McCarthy. “He lied to Biden. He lied to House conservatives.”
.@mattgaetz: I’m done owning Kevin McCarthy. We made a deal at the end of January to allow him to assume the speakership, and I’m not owning him anymore because he doesn’t tell the truth. So if Democrats want to own Kevin McCarthy by bailing him out, I can’t stop him, but then… pic.twitter.com/r7HGq97pwf
— Nicole Silverio (@NicoleMSilverio) October 1, 2023
Gaetz said fear of a government shutdown was a “feature” of “the system” rather than a “bug.”
“Kevin McCarthy’s goal was to make multiple contradictory promises to delay everything, back us up against shutdown politics, and at the end of the day, blow past the spending guardrails he had agreed,” he said.
Tapper noted Gaetz would need Democrats in Congress to support a motion to vacate Speaker McCarthy’s seat as a total of 218 votes are required for the motion to pass.
Gaetz said he had “enough” Republicans in support of McCarthy’s ousting, adding McCarthy would be “serving at the pleasure of Democrats” if he is still the Speaker of the House by next week.
The Florida representative said the only way McCarthy remains Speaker of the House is if Democrats in Congress “bail him out.”
“They probably will,” he added. “I actually think that when you believe in nothing, as Kevin McCarthy does, everything’s negotiable.”
Tapper suggested Gaetz and other House Republicans will have to make deals with House Democrats if McCarthy’s ousting is successful.
“I will make no deal with Democrats and concede no terms to them,” Gaetz declared. “I actually think Democrats should vote against Speaker McCarthy for free. I don’t think I should have to deal with that.”
“If Democrats wanna own Kevin McCarthy by bailing him out, I can’t stop them,” he concluded. “But then, he’ll be their Speaker, not mine.”
Last month, a resolution declaring the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives to be vacated was reportedly seen circulating through the House. The alleged resolution, dated Sept. 15, appeared to be authored by Gaetz.