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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) carried out his vow to attempt to unseat House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and on Monday evening, he introduced a motion to vacate on the House floor.
Gaetz has been vocal about his displeasure with McCarthy’s efforts to work with Democrats on avoiding a government shutdown due to budget differences. As we reported, McCarthy was able to shepherd a 45-Day Continuing Resolution through Congress, which will avoid a shutdown for now.
Gaetz was not having it:
“Mr. Speaker, pursuant to clause 2A1 of Rule 9, I rise to give notice of my intent to raise a question of the privileges of House,” Gaetz said. “Declaring the office Speaker of the House of Representatives to be vacant. Resolved that the office of Speaker of the House Representatives is hereby declared to be vacant.”
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) October 2, 2023
Gaetz’s maneuver means the House will need to take a vote on McCarthy’s future as speaker within two legislative days.
If McCarthy was fazed by the call for his ouster, he wasn’t showing it:
Bring it on.
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) October 2, 2023
The upcoming vote will put a lot of Republicans on the spot, with some unsure of how they’ll vote and others pulled by divided loyalties.
There are a number of members undecided on how they would vote on such a measure, but it’s likely McCarthy will need at least some Democrat votes to keep his job. Democrats could be in a position to try and extract concessions from McCarthy for their votes.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., told Fox News following Gaetz’s move that he believes a motion to vacate at this time is “a bad idea.” Additionally, Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., told Fox he was undecided.
Reaction on social media was all over the place, with some applauding Gaetz, while others were incensed that he would be at the center of infighting in the Republican party. Radio host Dana Loesch tweeted:
Because of Gaetz‘s ego trip we the taxpayers missed out on reducing gov’t spending, increasing border security, and nixing Ukraine funding. This is a straight-up ESTABLISHMENT move.
Babylon Bee writer Ashley St. Clair, however, seemed to be firmly on Team Matt:
Matt Gaetz has more of a spine than a majority of Congress
Dude stood up against the military industrial complex & was immediately falsely accused of sex trafficking
He rose from the ashes when nobody thought he would & now he’s holding McCarthy to his word
Shouldn’t we hold…
— Ashley St. Clair (@stclairashley) October 3, 2023
The last line of the above tweet reads, “Shouldn’t we hold all politicians to their word?!”
Gaetz himself seemed confident, telling a press gaggle after introducing his motion:
“I have enough Republicans where at this point next week, one of two things will happen: Kevin McCarthy won’t be the Speaker of the House, or he’ll be the Speaker of the House working at the pleasure of the Democrats. And I’m at peace with either result because the American people deserve to know who governs them,” he said.
This story will continue to unfold over the next few days, and RedState will keep you updated.