‘Bring It On’: Kevin McCarthy Unfazed by Efforts from Rep. Matt Gaetz to Oust Him as Speaker

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said Sunday that he would follow through on months of threats to file a “motion to vacate the chair” to try and oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).


Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said Sunday that he would follow through on months of threats to file a “motion to vacate the chair” to try and oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). McCarthy was unfazed by Gaetz’s threats. He told reporters, “So be it. Bring it on. Let’s get over with it and let’s start governing.”

  • “I do intend to file a motion to vacate against Speaker McCarthy this week,” Gaetz said on CNN. “I think we need to rip off the Band-Aid. I think we need to move on with leadership that’s trustworthy.”
  • McCarthy dismissed Gaetz’s threats as “personal” attacks from someone “more interested in securing TV interviews.” McCarthy told CBS, “Let’s get over with it. Let’s start governing. If he’s upset because he tried to push us into a shutdown and I made sure government didn’t shut down, then let’s have that talk.”
  • In interviews on Sunday, Gaetz claimed McCarthy was in “brazen, material breach” of agreements McCarthy made with other House Republicans to become Speaker in January.
  • Of course, Gaetz never voted for McCarthy for speaker, so he was never actually party to the agreements he now claims McCarthy has violated.
  • Gaetz’s threats come after large bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate passed a stopgap funding bill on Saturday to avert a government shutdown and keep the federal government running through mid-November.
  • Although the bill passed the House with Democrats’ help, it was supported by a majority of House Republicans.

reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The New York Times called Gaetz’s plan “the most dire threat yet to [McCarthy’s] speakership.” However, the Times noted “It is also unclear how many Republicans Mr. Gaetz might rally to vote against Mr. McCarthy over the next few days. Representative Eli Crane, Republican of Arizona and another critic of the speaker, seemed to endorse Mr. Gaetz’s crusade on Sunday…But Representative Byron Donalds, Republican of Florida, who has criticized Mr. McCarthy but also clashed with Mr. Gaetz in recent weeks, said during an interview on ‘Fox News Sunday’ that he had not decided how he would vote.”
  • Gaetz’s effort to oust McCarthy depends on the votes of “the vast majority” of House Democrats to succeed. According to Axios, his plot is being met with a “chilly reception” by the Democrats whose votes he needs. Senior House Democrats told Axios they would not back Gaetz, although he did pick up support from far-left “Squad” member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
  • The Washington Post reported “a majority of the GOP conference still staunchly supports McCarthy and would vote to keep him as their speaker.” The Post highlighted Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO)’s comments in an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo where he claimed “more than 200 Republicans are 100 percent behind Speaker McCarthy.”



  • Fox News reported House Republicans are preparing a push to expel Gaetz from Congress if the Ethics Committee finds him guilty of allegations of campaign finance violations, taking bribes, sexual misconduct and drug use. One House Republican told the outlet, “”No one can stand him at this point. A smart guy without morals.”
  • According to National Review, Gaetz has reportedly approached top Democrats to gauge their support for his effort to oust the country’s top elected Republican. “I think it’s clear that Matt Gaetz is trying to undermine the Republican majority and the speaker for his own personal and political purposes,” said Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) of Gaetz’s alleged collusion with left-wing Democrats.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported the “animosity” between Gaetz and the majority of House Republicans “runs deep.” The Journal quoted Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), who posted, “Matt Gaetz is a charlatan…At least 200 House Rs will be voting to support the Speaker, including me.” The last motion to vacate the chair occurred in 1910, when then-Speaker Joe Cannon’s allies introduced the motion “in order to vote it down, as a show of strength.”


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© Dominic Moore, 2023