- After Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida announced that he would attempt to remove House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from office, the Daily Caller News Foundation asked several House Republicans if they supported his removal.
- Ninety Republican lawmakers in the House voted against a continuing resolution passed on Saturday that averted a government shutdown, with Gaetz arguing that McCarthy broke a promise to members to not seek Democratic support for legislation.
- “I think the proposed motion to vacate is likely to backfire,” Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky told the DCNF.
Two Republican members of Congress have come out in favor of removing Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House while several have said they are considering their positions, members told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida announced his intention to bring a motion to vacate the speakership following the enactment of a continuing resolution on Saturday that avoids a government shutdown until Nov. 17, with Gaetz claiming that the resolution breached an agreement McCarthy made to secure the speakership in January, leading to 90 Republicans voting against the bill in the House. The DCNF contacted several of those House Republicans to enquire about whether they supported Gaetz’s effort to oust McCarthy. (RELATED: Here’s Who Kevin McCarthy’s GOP Critics Want To Install As Speaker Instead)
Two House Republicans so far have indicated that they will vote with Gaetz to remove McCarthy from the speakership. They are Republican Reps. Eli Crane of Arizona and Bob Good of Virginia.
Speaker McCarthy on whether he would cut a deal with Democrats to save his speakership. Tells us it’s about “the institution” but doesn’t answer directly pic.twitter.com/CONQAwafWd
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 2, 2023
“Let’s roll!” wrote Crane on Twitter, now known as X, in a post retweeting Gaetz’s appearance on CNN’s State of the Union where he announced that he would file his motion to vacate the chair. “I would never vote to retain the speaker,” Good said at the Capitol on Monday, adding that “we won’t have any trouble finding talented, qualified, interested candidates” to replace McCarthy.
Crane and Good’s likely support for Gaetz’s motion confirms at least three Republican votes for it. If all Democrats vote in favor of Gaetz’s resolution, the defections of four other Republicans will be enough to remove McCarthy from office, with just two more House Republicans being required to reach this number.
Some members have publicly toyed with the idea of removing McCarthy. Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who previously challenged McCarthy for the speakership at the start of the Congress, posed a public question on Twitter about whether he should vote to remove him. Rep. Victoria Spartz of Indiana, meanwhile, told reporters she’s “open-minded” about whether to vote against McCarthy.
Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, meanwhile, claimed that she would like to see House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik become the speaker, though declined to say whether she’d vote to remove McCarthy, according to comments she made on “The View.”
Among other members of the conference who voted against Saturday’s resolution, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado declined to take a position on the matter. “[T]he Congresswoman isn’t commenting on [the] House leadership battle between Gaetz and McCarthy at the moment,” wrote a spokesperson for Boebert to the DCNF.
One notable House Republican who strongly opposed the continuing resolution but has backed McCarthy is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. “A [motion to vacate] of our Speaker gives the upper hand to the Democrats, during dangerous times while we have been handed over under the presidency of an ailing old man ridden with dementia,” Greene wrote on Twitter.
Greene was joined by Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who wrote that “the proposed motion to vacate is likely to backfire,” according to an email to the DCNF. “I fear that attempting to vacate Speaker McCarthy at this juncture is a bad idea that will lead to worse outcomes for conservatives,” he added, citing his experience of having attempted to oust then-Speaker John Boehner in 2015, which led to his retirement.
Republican Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, who also voted against the continuing resolution, echoed Massie. “While Rep. Norman has been profoundly disappointed in several key elements of Speaker McCarthy’s leadership, he feels now is not the time to pursue a Motion to Vacate,” writing a spokesperson for Norman, adding that “[i]nstead, Rep. Norman believes Congress needs to devote its full attention to passing these appropriations bills.”
They appeared to be joined by Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, a prominent McCarthy critic, who suggested that the timing was inappropriate. “I don’t think right now that it’s time in the middle of the third quarter,” he said Monday on Fox News.
The offices of Republican Reps. Tom Tiffany, Clay Higgins, Andy Ogles, Morgan Griffith, Alex Mooney, Paul Gosar, Matt Rosendale, Ken Buck and Dan Bishop did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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