McCarthy Fumes, Blames ‘Crazy Eight Led by Gaetz’ For House GOP Crisis

There were no winners this week as the U.S. House again adjourned without electing a Speaker.

Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan’s bid for the gavel came to a bitter end Friday after colleagues voted in an anonymous ballot to remove him as the nominee. The latest defeat comes despite the best efforts from Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz and his allies, who offered this week to “accept censure, suspension, or removal” in exchange for seeing Jordan elected.

Gaetz told reporters that he stands by his ‘motion to vacate’ earlier this month, but the Florida Republican is facing increased opposition as the clock ticks. Ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who initially faded from the public eye after his ousting, emerged as one of Gaetz’s most vocal critics this week.

“What history will look at is the ‘Crazy Eight Led by Gaetz,'” McCarthy said in a Friday interview with CNN. “The amount of damage they have to this party and to this country is insurmountable.”

“I’ve never seen this amount of damage done to just a few people for their own personalities for their own fear of what’s going through,” he added. “Really, it’s astonishing to me, and we are in a very bad position as a party, one that has won the majority, one that America has trusted us with, that a simple eight people have put us in this place,”

McCarthy’s comments follow reports of a heated exchange between him and Gaetz during a closed-door meeting on Thursday. A report by ‘The Hill’ described McCarthy as shouting, “Sit your ass down,” after Gaetz reportedly tried to interject. Another source allegedly told the outlet that Illinois Congressman Mike Bost “was ready to lunge across the room.”

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On Friday, Gaetz and several colleagues stated they were willing to face retribution if it meant meeting their objectives. In a letter, the group slammed the GOP holdouts for opposing Jordan’s bid.

It has been suggested the Conference cannot move forward until there are consequences for each of us. While we violated no rule of either the House or Republican Conference, we understand some in the Conference wish to punish us.

Gaetz later told reporters that,

“The eight of us have said that we are willing to accept sanction, suspension, removal from the Republican conference. We of course will remain Republicans. We will continue to vote with Republicans on Republican principles. But if what these holdouts need is a pound of our flesh, we’re willing to give it to them in order to see them elect Jim Jordan for speaker.”

The letter was signed by Andy Biggs, Tim Burchett, Nancy Mace, Eli Crane, Matt Rosendale, Matt Gaetz, and Bob Good. Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado’s name was also included but was later attributed to a miscommunication.

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A new poll published Thursday has also shown increasing regret over the ouster of Kevin McCarthy as the Speaker battle drags on. According to an Economist/YouGov poll this week, more Republicans now disapprove than approve of the motion to vacate, at 43 percent versus 36 percent. The week prior, the pollster estimated approval and disapproval at 37 percent.

Since Jordan’s defeat, the field for the next GOP Speaker nominee has grown crowded, with at least nine members announcing bids for the office. That field includes Florida Congressman Byron Donalds.

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