Current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy seems to be the frontrunner for securing the coveted House Speaker role come January, but that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal yet. Those are the hopes, at least, of some MAGA representatives in the more conservative wing of the party.
“All I want for Christmas is @Jim_Jordan to realize he should be Speaker of the House!” Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, a member of the Freedom Caucus, tweeted.
Gaetz has long been an opponent of McCarthy. As far back as last spring, he was speaking about dethroning McCarthy from a leadership position and putting in a more like-minded colleague.
All I want for Christmas is @Jim_Jordan to realize he should be Speaker of the House!
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) December 24, 2022
Gaetz was also speaking on programs like Newsmax reiterating this point. Also in April of 2021, he went on television to further drive this same point home.
“You have a circumstance where you either have to believe Kevin’s statements or your own lying ears,” Gaetz said on Newsmax. “There are a few problems.”
“The conference never believed that Donald Trump should resign, so to have a leader so far outside of the conference is itself a problem,” he added, referring to McCarthy’s obvious shortcoming.
Then in June, Business Insider wrote that Gaetz had positioned himself as representing the true voice of the conservative MAGA movement under the GOP umbrella.
The Florida lawmaker downplayed senior GOP leaders in the House, pointing to Jordan — one of former President Donald Trump’s staunchest congressional allies — as a revered figure among lawmakers in a caucus dominated by its most conservative voices.
“Where Jim goes, the conference goes,” Gaetz told the publication of the Ohio Republican. “I don’t even remember who holds which austere titles that append to what corner offices and expanded staff budgets, but they are the followers.”
He added: “Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene [of Georgia], myself — we are the leaders.”
Readers will also remember that for a time Matt Gaetz had promised to even nominate Donald Trump as Speaker of the House.
Matt Gaetz states that when the Republicans take back the House of Representatives, he commits to vote for Trump as Speaker of the House. pic.twitter.com/4kPiuVx6pP
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) July 3, 2021
A spokesperson for his team released this statement last summer:
“Congressman Gaetz plans to nominate President Trump to be Speaker and has no personal ambition for the position. Congressman Gaetz has never run for Speaker, unlike his friend and mentor Jim Jordan. It is unlikely that the desire to be Speaker is an itch that goes away with one scratch.”
Despite the obvious enthusiasm for someone other than a perceived establishment insider continuing to preside over a Republican House majority, which would merely continue the trend of seating another Paul Ryan or John Boehner, the MAGA king himself, Donald Trump, surprisingly lent his backing to Kevin McCarthy for the critical leadership post.
“Yeah, I support McCarthy,” the former president revealed in a mid-December interview with Breitbart News.
“Look, I think this: Kevin has worked very hard,” he added. “He is just — it’s been exhausting. If you think, he’s been all over. I think he deserves the shot. Hopefully he’s going to be very strong and going to be very good and he’s going to do what everybody wants.”
Many found Trump’s tepid endorsement both surprising and disappointing, especially considering Trump’s biggest allies in Congress were attempting to undo the very thing that had just been endorsed by the former Commander-in-Chief. Trump obviously recognized this dilemma. He continued:
“Now, I’m friendly with a lot of those people who are against Kevin. I think almost every one of them are very much inclined toward Trump, and me toward them. But I have to tell them, and I have told them, you’re playing a very dangerous game,” Trump said. “You could end up with the worse situation. I don’t even want to say what it is, but I could tell you it’s a worse situation. You could end up with some very bad situations.”
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