A 2018 video of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who led the effort to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from his speakership post, began circulating on social media following the historic motion-to-vacate vote.
In the clip, the Florida Republican argued that efforts to oust then-Speaker Paul Ryan would weaken the GOP.
“Here’s the problem: If we take Paul Ryan off the field right now, instead of being able to finish strong in the 115th Congress, we will shatter into a bunch of factions fighting against each other for power,” Gaetz said.
“We’ve got enough of that in Washington already. Paul Ryan can be a caretaker of the speakership.”
“We can have a leadership election. We could go into the midterms strong. And I don’t think they’re pushing him out early if he doesn’t want to go, is in any way advantageous.”
Gaetz in 2018:
“If we talk Paul Ryan off the field right now, instead of being able to finish strong, we will shatter into a bunch of factions fighting against each other for power.” pic.twitter.com/1yOxe3GhML
— Caleb Smith (@CalebJSmith) October 3, 2023
After Tuesday’s vote, Gaetz accused McCarthy of being influenced by special interests.
“He’s the product of a corrupt system that rewards people who collect large sums of special interest money and then redistribute that money in exchange for political loyalty and political favors,” Gaetz told reporters.
“The reason Kevin McCarthy went down today is because nobody trusts Kevin McCarthy,” Gaetz continued. “Kevin McCarthy has made multiple contradictory promises, and when they all came due, he lost votes of people who maybe don’t even ideologically agree with me on everything.”
He argued it’s now time to move forward, finding “new leadership that can be trustworthy.”