Gaetz Floats Strange Partnership to Remove McCarthy

[Kevin McCarthy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

Matt Gaetz has begun a campaign to remove Kevin McCarthy from the House Speakership. Over the weekend, the Florida member of the House of Representatives reached out to California Democrat Eric Swalwell via Twitter to see if he could help build a coalition to dump the Speaker. 

“Hi, Eric. If I make a motion to remove Kevin, how may democrat votes can I count on? Asking for a friend….” Gaetz wrote on Twitter Saturday in reply to a jab from Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).

Swalwell had previously criticized Gaetz as making “empty threats” while the Florida Republican appeared on Fox News to slam McCarthy’s leadership of the GOP in the House. 

“I’ve never seen a colleague make more empty threats — day in/day out than this guy. Gaetz folded like a cheap card table to make McCarthy speaker and will never — I repeat never — make a motion to remove McCarthy. I do not work with serious people,” Swalwell wrote in response to Gaetz.

The California Democrat loathes the Speaker of the House. After taking the gavel, McCarthy stripped Swalwell of his duties on the House Intelligence Committee following reports that he had an inappropriate relationship with a Chinese spy.

Gaetz made headlines last week as well for raising the prospect of removing McCarthy if the speaker doesn’t move forward with an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, according to Mediate.

“I worked very hard in January to develop a toolkit for House Republicans to use in a productive and positive way. I don’t believe we’ve used those tools as effectively as we should have,” Gaetz told conservative radio host Todd Starnes last Tuesday. Gaetz forced the vote for House speaker to go a historic 15 rounds, which resulted in McCarthy conceding to allow for a one-member call to force a vote on vacating the speaker – the threshold had previously been five members.

“That means forcing votes on impeachment. And if Speaker McCarthy stands in our way, he may not have the job long,” Gaetz concluded with Starnes. Gaetz’s latest outreach to Democrats is likely nothing more than his regular bombast, but does highlight both the slim majority the GOP has in the House and the divisions among House Republicans regarding an impeachment inquiry.

Conservatives in the House have stated that they intend to use the upcoming votes to continue to fund the government as a leverage point for impeaching Joe Biden over the findings of the the House Oversight Committee, which has been investigating the Biden Crime? Family’s influence peddling during Joe Bidens time as vice president. 

But the party is facing an internal divide over an impeachment vote currently. The Daily Mail noted that “lawmakers on the right are entirely behind the proposal, while more moderate members have resisted.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican representative from Georgia and a major ally of Donald Trump, has said that she will vote against funding the government if impeaching proceedings had not begun.  

The House has currently been adjourned for summer break. 

Greene told Time, “Let me tell you the greatest thing that can happen. If I were Speaker of the House, I would put the impeachment inquiry vote to the floor on September 12 when we got back, whether it fails or not. Then I’d let those members who voted against it hear from their constituents. And then I’d put it back to the floor for a vote again, and I can guarantee they will sing a different tune.”

The magazine noted, “It’s a tactic that has worked for Trump-allied Republicans before. In June, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna forced a vote to censure Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who led Trump’s first impeachment and served on the Jan. 6 Committee, but the measure fell short because of 20 GOP holdouts. After Luna and her allies orchestrated a social media backlash against the Republican detractors—and removed a provision that would have fined Schiff $16 million—the Florida freshman reintroduced the motion a week later. This time, it passed on a party-line vote. Not a single Republican voted against it.

Now, Republicans are exploring that same blueprint to push forward an impeachment inquiry, the formal mechanism that initiates the impeachment process. ‘I have no problem calling out names,’ Greene says. In the interview, she cited Reps. Don Bacon of Nebraska, Ken Buck of Colorado, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Mike Lawler of New York, Tom McClintock of New York, and Darrell Issa of California as impeachment opponents. ‘I think people need to start taking the American people seriously instead of worrying about a bad article or the Democrats saying that it’s going to hurt Republicans in re-election. I’ll argue that is very much a lie.’

Over the summer, momentum has been building among the GOP to pursue the President’s removal after two IRS whistleblowers alleged that the Justice Department gave Hunter Biden a sweetheart deal. Their alacrity to impeach Biden intensified after discovering that he used email aliases as Vice President. Republicans like Greene and Gaetz say the Oversight Committee has turned up enough suspicious activity to warrant a full inquiry. Now, Greene insists she won’t vote to fund the government unless House Republicans do precisely that.

McCarthy has vocally supported opening an impeachment inquiry but has faced pushback within his conference. Some of his members, such as Lawler, are in districts that Biden won in 2020 and worry that an inquiry will hurt their re-election chances, sources say. It’s a sentiment echoed by Democrats, who suspect they would benefit politically from the spectacle.”

The often-addled Senator from Pennsylvania John Fetterman, for example, said, “Go ahead. Do it, I dare you. It would just be like a big circle jerk on the fringe right. It would just be like a big circle jerk on the fringe right,” the senator added. “Sometimes you just gotta call their bullshit. If they’re going to threaten, then let’s see it.”

Fetterman was joined by Republicans in the Senate known for supporting impeaching Donald Trump. “I haven’t seen any evidence at this stage to suggest he’s met the constitutional test for impeachment,” Sen. Mitt Romney told HuffPost last week.

“Don’t we have enough on our plate?” asked Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska.

The tight majorities in the Senate and House are certainly making for strange bedfellows as the second session of Congress heats up. 

[Read More: Biden Desperate To Avoid Hillary’s Mistakes]


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