House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy slammed Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on Tuesday for allegedly telling him that he doesn’t care if House Democratic leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) becomes the next Speaker instead of him.
“There’s times we’re going to have to argue with our own members, if they’re looking out for only positions for themselves, not for the country. For the last two months we worked together. As a whole conference, we developed rules that empower all members. But we’re not empowering certain members over others,” McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday.
“Last night, I was presented the only way to have 218 votes if I provided certain members with certain positions certain gavels to take over to chair committees, to have certain budgets, and they even came to the position where one Matt Gaetz said ‘I don’t care if we got a plurality, and we elect Hakeem Jeffries,’ and it hurts the new front-line members not to get reelected,” McCarthy continued. “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.”
Gaetz, along with Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Matt Rosendale (R-Mt.) and Bob Good (R-Va.) plans to vote as one bloc to oppose McCarthy for Speaker.
Republicans have a narrow 222-212 majority in the House and McCarthy can only lose four votes if he hopes to win the speakership on the first ballot.