Sunday 24 March 2024

Matt Gaetz ‘Unleashed The Demons’ In GOP When He ‘Drove Kevin McCarthy Out,’ Newt Gingrich Says

 Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) blames the current House GOP dysfunction on Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.

Gingrich appeared on Fox News on Friday with host Laura Ingraham to bemoan the chaos that has fractured the House Republican caucus and which threatens to oust the second Republican speaker since October. He said trouble within the caucus has contributed to a series of early departures within the GOP that has made its slight majority even smaller.

“We shouldn’t underestimate how bad what Matt Gaetz did was for the whole system. He unleashed the demons. He went after somebody who had raised $480 million, had gained seats for three elections in a row. He drove Kevin McCarthy out of office,” Gingrich said, according to Mediaite. “From that point on, it has been a disaster.”

Gaetz led a revolt of a small group of Republican House members against former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in October, ousting the Republican leader from the speaker’s chair. The rebellion threw the House GOP into chaos for a short time, after which Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana was voted to take up the speaker’s gavel. At the time, Gaetz accused McCarthy of cutting secret deals with Democrats and undermining House conservatives.

“I don’t blame [House Speaker Mike Johnson.] I think Speaker Johnson has a hand that’s virtually impossible to play. And that’s where I think some of the people just make it worse,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich went on to say that the disarray among House Republicans emphasizes the need to elect former President Donald Trump back to the White House in November and give Trump and Republicans a large majority to govern in Congress.

“When I was speaker, I had a lot more ability than Johnson did to run the house, because I had a big enough majority, you could have five or 10 people who were crazy and you can still govern,” Gingrich said. “[Johnson] doesn’t have a one-vote majority. The fact is there are eight or 10 or 12 people who are going to get up every morning voting no. … So, he really has no majority at all.”

“You have to decide. Sooner or later you’re going to realize the bills have been worse since McCarthy was gone. The Democrats are in greater control. The hard-liners on the right have done nothing except make it worse. The Freedom Caucus right now has been a disaster in public policy terms. If you think your job in life is to grandstand and complain while the other team runs over you, they’re doing a great job,” the former speaker added.


Johnson is now facing threats of removal from within the House GOP caucus after he pushed through the House a $1.2 trillion omnibus spending package last week over dissent from House conservatives. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) on Friday filed a motion to remove the speaker’s gavel from Johnson over his handling of the legislation. Greene said her resolution was “more of a warning than a pink slip.”

Gaetz defended Johnson last week as House conservatives voiced discontent with the speaker.

“If we vacated this speaker, we’d end up with a Democrat,” Gaetz warned. “When I vacated the last one, I made a promise to the country that we would not end up with a Democrat speaker. … I couldn’t make that promise again today.”

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