Rep Matt Gaetz addressed Kevin McCarthy’s claims that he does not adhere to “conservative values” by lamenting what would happen if the Former House Speaker ever appeared at a Trump rally.
On Tuesday, the Florida congressman ousted McCarthy from his position following the successful motion to vacate the chair.
McCarthy later conceded and announced he would not be seeking the gavel again.
The former House Speaker also took aim at the eight Republicans who voted in favor of the motion to vacate, saying:
“These are the same people that never voted for me, they thought it was big that they went to ‘present’ after we went 15 rounds [in January].”
McCarthy also claimed that the motion to vacate damaged the institution because it allowed Democrats to dictate terms to the Republican-led House.
“You need 218. Unfortunately, four percent of the Republican conference can join all the Democrats and dictate who can be the Republican Speaker in this House,” McCarthy said.
The former House Speaker followed up his statement by accusing Gaetz and other detractors of lacking “conservative values.”
“They voted against one the greatest cut in history that Congress has ever voted for 2 trillion; they voted against work requirements,” McCarthy told reporters.
“They voted against NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) reform.”
“They voted against border security — they don’t get to say they’re conservative because they’re angry and they’re chaotic,” McCarthy quipped, adding that they are “not conservatives.”
McCarthy also called out Gaetz by name, claiming his motives for ousting him had “nothing to do with spending.”
The former Speaker went on to accuse Gaetz of holding a grudge for not squashing ethics investigations into him.
“I believe I can continue to fight, maybe in a different manner,” McCarthy told a packed Capitol room.
“I will not run for Speaker again; I’ll have the conference pick somebody else.”
McCarthy expressed no regrets over his choices in the days leading to Gaetz filing the motion to vacate.
Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it is necessary,” he said, smiling.
“I don’t regret standing up for choosing governing over grievance.”
Gaetz responded to McCarthy’s claims during a Fox News interview with Laura Ingraham, stating that the move to challenge the former House Speaker was necessary due to broken promises.
“Kevin McCarthy believes we have to utilize continuing resolutions and if the continuing resolution is conservative enough, if you hang some bells and whistles on it, that really ought to pacify people who are right-leaning throughout the country,” Gaetz said.
We should get to electing a new, more conservative and more trustworthy Speaker immediately.— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) October 4, 2023
I'm calling on @PatrickMcHenry, who is currently the Speaker Pro Tem, to reconsider the decision that he just made to send everyone in Congress home for a week.
This is not the time to… pic.twitter.com/DWb1MFhRQ5
“I believe that the only way to achieve programmatic reform and put downward pressure on spending is to do what was done back in the 1990s where every individual bill is conferenced and debated and subject to amendment,” Gaetz continued.
Gaetz also rejected claims that he advanced a motion to vacate to fundraise, flatly stating he refuses to take money from lobbyists.
Ingraham asked Gaetz if President Donald Trump supported Tuesday’s proceedings.
“I support President Trump, eager to campaign with him. Probably our private conversations I’m going to keep to us, but I think I’m in pretty good stead with the former president,” Gaetz said.
“You’ll see me on the campaign trail with him soon,” Gaetz said.
“And by the way, you know who you won’t see on the campaign trail at a big rally? Kevin McCarthy,” he added.
“Because if Kevin McCarthy took the stage at a Trump rally, he would be booed off of it like Lindsey Graham.”