Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, who made history on Tuesday after he became the very first individual to be voted out of the speakership, fired back at the eight House Republicans who helped kick him out of the position, though he did say there were many more ways he could serve the people of the United States without being Speaker of the House, stating it was not worth locking up Congress if a few people in the GOP had personal issues with him and were dedicated to making sure he didn’t serve in the office.
“I think you should put the country first. You know, this job was never about me,” the now former speaker stated, going on to add: “Why [would] I do something for myself that can hurt the country? I’m not quite sure those individuals are looking to be productive. It concerns me as a Republican based upon watching what they do.”
According to a report from the Daily Wire, “McCarthy said that it was a mistake helping elect many of the eight Republicans who voted to oust him, which included Reps. Matt Gaetz (FL), Andy Biggs (AZ), Ken Buck (CO), Eli Crane (AZ), Bob Good (VA), Matt Rosendale (MT), Tim Burchett (TN), and Nancy Mace (SC).”
“These are the same people that sat on the floor and criticized me that we didn’t get all 12 spending bills done,” he explained. “They held up every appropriation bill in the summer because they wouldn’t let it come through. After the debt ceiling, they stopped us from doing anything on the floor.”
McCarthy then went on to reveal that Gaetz, speaking with him back in January, stated that he wanted to see a rule implemented that would give a single member permission to file a motion to vacate, though he promised he would never use it. Well, if he really did say that, I guess he never had any intention of keeping his word. That definitely sends mixed signals on what one should think about Gaetz. On the one hand, he’s allegedly standing up for what he believes, but on the other hand, can he be trusted from this point forward?
“He said those Republicans who voted against his original stopgap spending bill voted against making spending cuts, voted against border security, and later partnered with Democrats to remove him — thus showing that they are not conservative,” the Daily Wire said.
“They are not conservatives. They voted against, one, the greatest cut in history that Congress has ever voted for,” the former speaker said. “They voted against work requirements. They voted against NIPA reform. They voted against border security. They voted against guns. They don’t get to say they’re conservative because they’re angry and they’re chaotic. That’s not the party I belong to. The party of Reagan was if you believed in your principles, that you could govern in a conservative way. They are not conservatives and they do not have the right to have the title.”
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McCarthy then took several opportunities to proverbially open fire on Gaetz during the press conference, urging journalist in attendance not to believe everything Gaetz says.
“You all know Matt Gaetz. You know it was personal,” he stated. “It had nothing to do about spending. Everything he accused somebody of, he was doing. It all was about getting attention from you. I mean, we’re getting e-mail fundraisers from him as he’s doing it. ‘Join in quickly.’ That’s not governing. That’s not becoming of a member of Congress. And regardless of what you think, I’ve seen the texts, it was all about his ethics. But that’s all right.”
Here’s more from the report:
McCarthy’s remarks about “it was all about his ethics” was a reference to the House Ethics Committee investigation into Gaetz over allegations that Gaetz “may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity, or impermissible gift,” according to a report from the Committee.
McCarthy pointed to remarks made by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) — who he referred to as “the hardest-line” person in the conference — on the House floor earlier in the day in which Massie defended McCarthy’s speakership.
“When Gaetz said I didn’t follow the rules, show me one place,” McCarthy said. “You saw Thomas Massie, who is the hardest-line person, say we followed all the rules, all the time, that he was in the room when the agreement was made, and then we surpassed what we said we would do.”
Toward the end of the presser, McCarthy suggested that he’s now going to spend his time getting involved in primary races and is “pretty good at electing people.”