House Republicans are calling for Matt Gaetz to face some form of consequences for kicking Kevin McCarthy out of the speakership and plunging the chamber into chaos.
Gaetz is bearing the brunt of his colleagues’ ire, after he introduced a motion to vacate the speaker last week and then led seven other Republicans to break ranks and vote to oust McCarthy. The House is now scrambling to find a new speaker, a situation made all the more urgent by the war between Israel and Palestine. Without a speaker, the House can’t pass aid packages or approve resolutions condemning the militants’ actions.
“Matt Gaetz is frankly a vile person,” Representative Mike Lawler told CNN’s Manu Raju late Monday. “He’s not somebody who’s willing to work as a team. He stands up there, he grandstands, he lies directly to folks.”
Lawler has been particularly outspoken about how much he dislikes Gaetz. He has previously called Gaetz “disgraceful” and called for him to be expelled from the Republican conference.
Representative Derrick Van Orden told Raju that he won’t support either of the new candidates for speaker “until we deal with the fact that we have people in our conference who could shut this House down on a whim again.”
Representative Don Bacon accused the eight anti-McCarthy voters of having “kicked us in the shins really bad.”
“They don’t support our party, and it’s all about media clicks,” he told CNN.
Representative Tom Cole, who chairs the House Rules Committee, suggested raising the threshold for the motion to vacate. “I think it’s time to take the sharp knives away from the children,” he told Axios.
One of the concessions McCarthy made to become speaker in January was to restore the motion to vacate, which would allow any single member of the House to call for a vote to remove him. Gaetz had repeatedly threatened to use that power against McCarthy, but finally made good on his promise last week.
Gaetz may be headed for some form of consequences for his actions. Some members of the GOP were already weighing whether to expel Gaetz from Congress should the Ethics Committee find him guilty of sexual misconduct, illegal drug use, and other wrongdoings.