Current Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy seems to be settling in to become the next House speaker under the GOP’s new majority.
But Rep. Matt Gaetz, a McCarthy foe, continues to advocate for Republicans to take a different path.
In an interview on Friday with Newsmax, the Fort Walton Beach Republican noted that McCarthy as speaker would be “more of the same,” something conservatives should not accept.
“In Congress, we need to turn the page,” said Gaetz, adding that McCarthy doesn’t have the votes to become speaker even as he sets up his leadership team for taking over in January.
“We need to get away from the corrupt system that puts the lobbyists and special interests in charge, and we need a fighting Republican majority. It’s one that I don’t think Kevin McCarthy can lead, and that’s why we’re trying to find alternatives,” Gaetz told Newsmax’s, Greg Kelly.
Gaetz said he didn’t support McCarthy because he wanted former President Donald Trump to resign after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, and because in the 2022 elections, he spent big in GOP primaries to defeat “America First” candidates.
The congressman also criticized McCarthy for advocating that anti-Trump GOP Rep. Liz Cheney keep her job in the party’s leadership, despite her siding with Democrats against the former president.
Gaetz noted that Republicans voted for McCarthy as speaker by a 188-36 margin last week. But those three dozen opponents are not bending, so McCarthy remains well short of the 218 he needs to take charge.
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Gaetz said the party needs to find someone with broad credibility within the GOP and not someone who has “burned bridges with the America First crowd.”
Gaetz also suggested the GOP could look outside of Congress to nominate a new speaker. He said Lee Zeldin, a former congressman who recently lost a close race to become governor of New York, could be a viable option.
On Friday, Gaetz also highlighted an opinion column on the American Greatness website by Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, who explained why he could not support McCarthy as well.
Biggs suggested that McCarthy would be more inclined to go along with the status quo instead of fighting for conservative positions and principles.
“Kevin McCarthy (Establishment-CA) is now reduced to threatening and pressuring incoming freshmen House members to vote for him,” Gaetz tweeted in posting Biggs’ article. “We have the votes to force a change.”
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