Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz announced his plan Sunday to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from leadership on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Gaetz told CNN’s Jake Tapper he will file a motion this week to remove McCarthy from his seat over a lack of trust. The motion would force a House vote on whether to vacate McCarthy’s seat.
“Speaker McCarthy made an agreement with House conservatives in January and since then he’s been in brazen, repeated material breach of that agreement,” Gaetz said Sunday. “This agreement that he made with Democrats to really blow past a lot of the spending guardrails we’d set up is a last straw.”
The Florida representative said there will be enough Republican votes to oust McCarthy, which will lead the speaker to strike a deal with the Democrats in Congress. He vowed to refuse to cut any deals with Democratic members of Congress.
“The only way Kevin McCarthy is Speaker of the House at the end of this coming week is if Democrats bail him out. Now, they probably will. I actually think that when you believe in nothing, as Kevin McCarthy does, everything’s negotiable and I think he’ll cut a deal with the Democrats,” he said.
If McCarthy does strike a deal with Democrats, Gaetz said, the current Republican leader “will be serving at the pleasure of the Democrats.” (RELATED: ‘Out Of Compliance’: Matt Gaetz Slams McCarthy On House Floor, Threatens Motion To Vacate The Chair)
“I’m done owning Kevin McCarthy,” Gaetz continued. “We made a deal in January to allow him to assume the speakership, and I’m not owning him anymore because he doesn’t tell the truth. And so if Democrats want to own Kevin McCarthy by bailing him out, I can’t stop them, but then he’ll be their speaker, not mine.”
Gaetz has reportedly been approaching Democrats about potential replacements if he files the motion to vacate, CNN reported. The tension between Gaetz and McCarthy escalated after President Joe Biden signed a short-term, McCarthy-supported bill Saturday to keep the government open until mid-November. The bill was signed into law just minutes before the federal government’s funding for fiscal year 2023 was slated to expire by midnight.
Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a separate Sunday interview with Tapper she would “absolutely” vote in favor of vacating McCarthy’s seat, according to CNN.
“I think Kevin McCarthy is a very weak speaker. He clearly has lost control of his caucus. He has brought the United States and millions of Americans to the brink, waiting until the final hour to keep the government open, and even then only issuing a 45-day extension,” she said.