U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz has denounced the top two House Republicans as “weak men” for siding with the anti-Trump forces within their own ranks following the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol.
On Tuesday, the Fort Walton Beach Republican issued a statement after The New York Times released tapes of a phone call between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise in the aftermath of the violence.
According to the tape, the Daily Mail of London reports, McCarthy complained to Scalise about comments being made after the riot by some of Trump’s staunchest supporters, including Gaetz as well as Reps. Mo Brooks, Lauren Boebert, Barry Moore, and Marjorie Taylor Greene.
McCarthy specifically laments comments by Gaetz, saying the Florida lawmaker was “putting people in jeopardy” by criticizing other Republicans as “anti-Trump.” That apparently referred to an interview Gaetz did with Newsmax, in which he called Rep. Liz Cheney, who later voted for Trump’s impeachment because of the Jan. 6 riot.
“This is serious stuff people are doing that has to stop,” McCarthy complained on the call to Scalise. “I’m calling Gaetz, I’m explaining to him, I don’t know if I have much to say, but I’m going to have some other people call him too. This is serious s–t, to cut this out.”
Scalise, according to the tape, added that “it’s potentially illegal what he’s doing.”
Late Tuesday, Gaetz replied to that exchange.
On Twitter, he said, McCarthy and Scalise “held views about President Trump and me that they shared on sniveling calls with Liz Cheney, not us. This is the behavior of weak men, not leaders.”
“Folks know what I think because I tell them clearly, directly, as I did when I held the largest event in Wyoming political history (without a rodeo element) days after the recordings were taken,”
The comments by McCarthy and Scalise were reportedly recorded on Jan. 10, 2021.
“While I was protecting President Trump from impeachment, they were protecting Liz Cheney from criticism. They deemed it incendiary or illegal to call Cheney and [Republican Rep. Adam] Kinzinger ‘Anti-Trump, a label both proudly advertise today,” Gaetz continued.
Kinzinger also voted to impeach Trump. And he and Cheney both were selected by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to sit on the special committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot.
“On the bright side,” Gaetz added, “you no longer have to be a lobbyist with a $5,000 check to know what McCarthy and Scalise really think. You just have to listen to their own words as they disparage Trump and the Republicans in Congress who fight for him.”
On Tuesday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson joined Gaetz in criticizing McCarthy. The minority leader, Carlson said, is “a puppet of the Democratic Party,” as well as “a man who in private, turns out, sounds like an MSNBC contributor.”