Rep. Matt Gaetz said on Sunday that it was worth the knockdown, drag-out fight — and almost literally in his case — over making Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy the new House speaker.
The Fort Walton Beach Republican also forgave fellow Republican Rep. Mike Rogers for a dust-up late Friday night and add that he will be able to work with him on the House Armed Services Committee.
In an interview with Fox News, Gaetz said the longest vote for speaker since before the Civil War was worth the effort because the 20 renegades in the GOP, himself included, were able to wring concessions out of McCarthy that the new speaker was rejected just last Monday.
“I’m thrilled where the House of Representatives is today,” said Gaetz.
The Florida Republican added that McCarthy agreed to “democratize” the legislative process, and allow backbenchers to have an equal say, rather than suffer under a system where the committee chairs and their closest allies control the flow of bills.
In the news: Rep. Crenshaw Apologizes For Calling McCarthy Opponents “Terrorists” During Debate
The negotiations with McCarthy, he noted, will include installing hardcore conservatives in prominent posts on all major committees.
“I can’t wait to see what we’re able to do when we unlock the potential of all of our members going forward,” said Gaetz.
Gaetz also mocked the idea, repeated widely in the media, that somehow the GOP or Congress itself was hobbled because the speaker vote played out over four days. He pointed out that the House takes off for six weeks a year, beginning in August.
During the interview, Gaetz also addressed the confrontation with Rogers, of Alabama, who is expected to become chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
As The Free Press reported, late Friday night Gaetz voted “present” in what turned out to be the next-to-last round, depriving McCarthy of victory by one vote.
McCarthy ignited the tension by apparently confronting Gaetz and Rep. Lauren Boebert, who also voted “present,” to get one of them to switch their vote for him. They obviously declined.
In the news: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Confronts Biden On Tarmac Over Border Policies
Video of the ensuing confrontation showed Rogers yelling at Gaetz and jabbing his finger at him before North Carolina GOP Rep. Richard Hudson essentially restrained Rogers by grabbing him around the neck and pulling him away.
Gaetz predicted Rogers would be a “terrific” chairman, noting that they “share a deep commitment to our national defense, to our men and women in uniform.”
Gaetz added, Mike Rogers and I have a six-year productive working relationship. We’re going to work together wonderfully going forward.”
“I don’t think there should be any punishment or reprisal just because he had an animated moment. He has my forgiveness.”