After months of threatening, Representative Matt Gaetz finally filed a motion to vacate Kevin McCarthy as House speaker. But Gaetz has no clue what happens next.
But when asked Tuesday by his fellow Republicans what his plan is and who would replace McCarthy, Gaetz had no answer, CNN’s Melanie Zanona reported. “Gaetz said there’d need to be a new speaker’s election that plays out and didn’t name anyone he had in mind for the job.”
If Gaetz does manage to force a new vote for speaker, his not having a candidate in mind could drag things out even longer, sending the House spiraling further into chaos than it already is. The natural successor to McCarthy would be House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who is out getting treatment for multiple myeloma. Majority Whip Tom Emmer and conference chair Elise Stefanik would also be obvious choices, but they have both taken themselves out of the running.
Still, Gaetz is no stranger to forcing Congress (and the rest of us) to sit through round after round of agonizing votes for House speaker. He was one of the last holdouts in January, resulting in 15 votes before McCarthy finally won the gavel.
It’s unclear if Republicans will band together to save McCarthy. He has grown increasingly unpopular among the farthest-right flank of his party, particularly due to the repeated deals he struck with Democrats on the federal budget.
But Republicans are definitely starting to sour on Gaetz. House Republicans are reportedly planning a motion to expel him from the chamber, depending on whether the Ethics Committee finds him guilty of sexual misconduct and illegal drug use, among other things.