Gaetz Files Motion to Strip McCarthy of Speakership

He accuses fellow Republican of cutting 'secret side deal' with Biden
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2023 4:48 PM CDT
Updated Oct 2, 2023 6:52 PM CDT
Matt Gaetz on Ousting McCarthy: 'Stay Tuned'
Rep. Matt Gaetz answers questions from members of the media after speaking on the House floor, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Updated with Gaetz's filing
Rep. Matt Gaetz has carried through on his threat, filing a House motion late Monday to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his leadership position. The Florida Republican had said he would try to put the matter to a vote in retaliation for the speaker working with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown. In a speech Monday on the House floor, Gaetz suggested McCarthy had cut a "secret side deal" with President Biden on aid for Ukraine, which was not included in the stopgap spending measure, the New York Times reports.

"It is going to be difficult for my Republican friends to keep calling President Biden feeble while he continues to take Speaker McCarthy's lunch money in every negotiation," Gaetz quipped. He later told reporters that he wouldn't limit the effort to oust McCarthy to a single round of balloting. "It took Speaker McCarthy 15 votes to become the speaker," he said, per Politico. "So until I get to 14 or 15, I don't think I'm being any more dilatory than he was." Removing the speaker requires a majority vote, per CNN. There's no requirement that the vote be held immediately, per NBC News.

Sources tell the Times that Democrats are debating what concessions they would demand from McCarthy if he approaches them for help to remain as House speaker. Gaetz said he had discussed his plans with Donald Trump, the Hill. Asked who he would like to see replace McCarthy, Gaetz suggested that No. 2 House Republican Steve Scalise, who is being treated for cancer, was a possibility. "It is awkward to talk about names until we understand how Mr. Scalise comes out of his treatment for blood cancer," Gaetz said. "I am not the type of person that just says you blow by somebody because they're getting a medical treatment." (Read more Matt Gaetz stories.)

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