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Florida Delegation Reacts After Matt Gaetz Ousts Kevin McCarthy

Members of the Florida delegation reacted after U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., led a successful effort to oust U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

Gaetz filed a motion to vacate against McCarthy this week and was able to get it across the finish line as seven other Republicans and the Democratic minority joined his effort.

The Panhandle Republican offered his reasons for ousting McCarthy.

“Earlier this year in January, during the contest for speaker of the House, there was a group of lawmakers who wanted to change the way Washington, D.C., operates before allowing Kevin McCarthy to ascend to the speakership. These concessions included passing single-subject spending bills, votes on a balanced budget and term limits, the full release of the January 6th tapes, committing to not using Democrat votes to pass legislation that advances the priorities of Joe Biden, and more,” Gaetz said. “For the last eight months, Speaker McCarthy has been in breach of that agreement. While there have been minor improvements, like taking a vote on term limits in the House Judiciary Committee and passing some single-subject spending bills, this progress was only made after Rep. Gaetz put pressure on Speaker McCarthy and forced him to do it. All of Speaker McCarthy’s failure theater resulted in him teaming up with Democrats to pass a continuing resolution that funds Ukraine, funds Jack Smith’s election interference against President Trump, abandons E-Verify, and does nothing to put the interests of the American people first.”

Every other Republican in the Florida delegation supported keeping McCarthy as speaker.

“Speaker Kevin McCarthy has been a champion for the American Dream his entire career,” said U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla. “I lost my native homeland of Cuba to a brutal Communist tyranny — everything I am is because of America. We need to keep Speaker McCarthy and continue fighting to protect our freedoms!”

The Messenger reported Gimenez came out swinging at Gaetz, insisting on Fox News on Sunday that “Matt Gaetz is Joe Biden’s favorite Republican” and painting him as a “Democrat in disguise.” Gimenez also accused Gaetz of ensuring less funds were being used for border protection as McCarthy had to rely on Democrats to get the votes to pass a continuing resolution on Saturday. “Every migrant coming through the border right now should have a big sign saying, thank you, Matt Gaetz. Or gracias, Matt Gaetz,” Gimenez said.

(link “The Messenger” to)

U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., also took aim at Gaetz.

“Today Representative Matt Gaetz led House Democrats and a handful of dissenters in handing the House back to the Far Left. It is a lie to characterize this as anything but a personal vendetta,” said Rutherford. “Rep. Gaetz’s ‘concern’ for the American people is hollow. He claims to support cutting spending and securing our southern border, yet last week voted down a bill to cut nondefense discretionary spending by 30 percent and secure our border. He claims to support the military, yet voted against paying our troops – twice last week. He claims to support passage of single-subject funding bills, yet here we are today living out his personal vendetta against Speaker McCarthy instead of considering two single-subject appropriations bills scheduled to be on the floor.

“Rep. Gaetz is driving our nation toward the brink of another government shutdown, all for clicks and cash and a boost in his national profile. His disrespect for his colleagues, this institution, and the people we serve is a clear reflection of his lacking fitness to serve in Congress and has made him President Biden’s greatest ally,” Rutherford added. “Over the past nine months, Speaker Kevin McCarthy has kept his ‘Commitment to America,’ despite distractions by a small vocal minority. Speaker McCarthy led the Republican Conference in cutting $2 trillion in spending, streamlining energy permitting, passing historic border legislation, holding the Biden administration accountable, reforming welfare programs, and rolling back soft-on-crime laws. I stand by this record, and hope we can put aside the childish gamesmanship playing out today and get back to doing the job of governing that we were elected to do.”

See also  Matt Gaetz, Jared Moskowitz Introduce Resolution Honoring Trump Rally Shooting Victim Corey Comperatore

Other Republicans in the Florida delegation were critical of the move to oust McCarthy but did not call out Gaetz by name.

“As Republicans in Congress, it is critical that we stand in support of Speaker McCarthy. Our only chance of advancing a more conservative agenda is for us to be united. Attempts to remove the speaker will only empower Democrats and their liberal agenda. The speaker is a strong leader who never gives up and knows what it takes to get our country back on track,” said Rep. U.S. Rep. Laurel Lee, R-Fla.

Democrats in the Florida delegation shed no tears over McCarthy losing the gavel.

“Ever since Republicans gained a majority in the House of Representatives nine months ago, Americans have been subjected to unnecessary chaos and economic uncertainty. We deserve better,” said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla.”Extreme MAGA Republicans use default, shutdowns, and abortion bans in an effort to gain political advantage, while the wishes of the vast majority of Americans for bipartisanship and stability are ignored.

“Democrats will stay focused on what is important to our neighbors, like lowering costs, growing the middle class, and ensuring our communities are safe. People come before politics, and hopefully, new leadership in the House will join us in that commitment,” she added.

“You reap what you sow, and Kevin McCarthy only has himself to blame,” said U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fla. “McCarthy will go down as one of the weakest speakers in the history of our nation, all because he sold his soul to hold the gavel and, in that process, abandoned his own values and the ability to govern.

“I will never vote to save a speaker that refuses to act while innocent children are murdered at the hands of gun violence, while LGBTQ+ are under attack for who they love, and while working folks struggle to make ends meet under rising housing costs,” Frost continued. “House Democrats are united in the call for Leader Hakeem Jeffries to be our next speaker. And while we are ready to get to work on behalf of our communities and the American people, House Republicans are in disarray.”

U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-NC, the speaker pro tempore, sent the House home for the rest of the week as the GOP majority starts to grapple with finding a new leader. Gaetz was critical of McHenry’s decision.

“We should get to electing a new, more conservative and more trustworthy speaker immediately. I’m calling on Patrick McHenry who is currently the speaker pro tem, to reconsider the decision that he just made to send everyone in Congress home for a week,” insisted Gaetz. “This is not the time to go home for a week. We should stay and elect a new speaker.”


  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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