House Republican infighting hit a fever pitch Tuesday over California Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s bid to be the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Several GOP House members announced after a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning their intention to vote against McCarthy in the next vote for House leader. The press conference lasted just under 30 minutes and included Republican Representatives Matt Gaetz, Scott Perry and Lauren Boebert.
Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry told reporters he wouldn’t support McCarthy for Speaker because he neglected to fix Washington while in leadership positions for over a decade until opposing members forced his hand.
“Every single American agrees –even the guy [who] wants to be speaker agrees – that Washington is broken,” said Perry. “Interestingly enough, over the 14 years that [McCarthy’s] been in leadership, he’s done almost virtually nothing to change it. And under pressure from a group of members, who have said that we’re not any longer going to accept the status quo, we have been able to force rule changes to make things better.”
Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert said her vote against McCarthy came after he refused to acquiesce to her “hardline” request to include procedures that would hold the House Speaker accountable.
“I’ve said from the beginning that my hardline was the motion to vacate– single member motion to vacate. You cannot demand more responsibility and less accountability. And Kevin McCarthy was taking the path of Nancy Pelosi and following her precedence with the motion to vacate,” Boebert said.
Boebert added that McCarthy “eagerly” dismissed a deal that would see him win the leadership position on the first ballot, including protecting the border and adding Congressional term limits.
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz told reporters he opposes McCarthy but takes “no joy in this discomfort that this moment has brought.”
“If you want to drain the swamp, you cannot put the biggest alligator in charge of the exercise,” Gaetz said. “We offered Kevin McCarthy terms last evening that he rejected.” (RELATED: To Save The American Dream, The GOP Should Shut Down The Government)
“It is true that we struggle with trust with Mr. McCarthy. Because time and again, his viewpoints, his positions, they shift like sands underneath you,” Gaetz added. “Even Kevin McCarthy’s own mentor recently said that the lies always change. Mr. McCarthy is not only responsive to pressure from the right, time and again, he has failed to achieve the goals that we seek on spending.”
Gaetz said McCarthy failed to get House GOP members his “battle plan” for important issues, including “folks in the military who feel like they’re being purged.”
“All we got was a handful of howdy and a mouthful of much obliged,” he said. “So we do not want to be here at this moment. We would prefer to have a unity of purpose, but we will not continue to allow the uni-party to run this town without a fight.”
Rep. @MattGaetz on opposing Kevin McCarthy for House Speaker: “If you want to drain the swamp, you cannot put the biggest alligator in charge of the exercise.” pic.twitter.com/2hPDMF1RqB
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) January 3, 2023
In a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning, McCarthy admitted that as many as twenty GOP house members would be voting against him in the next vote for House leader, Politico reported.
McCarthy told reporters he’s “not going anywhere” despite the lack of support from these members for his bid for House Speaker because “we’re not empowering certain members over others.”
“Well, that’s not about America, and I will always fight to put the American people first, not a few individuals that want something for themselves. So we may have a battle on the floor, but the battle is for the conference and the country. And that’s fine with me,” McCarthy said.
“Look, I have the record for the longest speech ever on the floor. I don’t have a problem getting a record for the most votes for Speaker, too,” he added.