Conservatives aligned with former President Donald Trump are coming out in opposition to the motion by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., to vacate House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., over the stopgap government funding bill that passed late Saturday.
Gaetz threatened over the weekend that he would file the motion this week, which would aim to effectively oust McCarthy from the speakership after he accused McCarthy of making a ‘side deal’ with Democrats to send additional aid to Ukraine. McCarthy, who said he supports arming Ukraine but not sending additional money to Ukraine, rejected the notion that a side deal took place with Democrats or President Biden.
‘For all the crocodile tears about what may happen later this week about a motion to vacate, working with the Democrats is a yellow brick road that has been paved by Speaker McCarthy,’ Gaetz said during a floor speech Monday afternoon. ‘Whether it was the debt limit deal, the [continuing resolution] or now the secret deal on Ukraine.’
‘This is swampy log-rolling,’ Gaetz added. ‘The American people deserve single-subject bills. I get that a lot of folks might disagree with my perspectives on the border or on Ukraine, but can we at least agree that no matter how you feel about Ukraine or the southern border, they each deserve the dignity of their own consideration and should not be rolled together where they might pass, where each individually wouldn’t. This is what we’re trying to get away from.’
On Saturday, the House and Senate passed a stopgap government funding bill that Biden signed later that evening. The bill passed the House in a 335-91 vote and helped avoid a government shutdown – which would have resulted in thousands of federal employees being furloughed – and extended funding through mid-November.
Gaetz ultimately filed a motion to vacate on Monday evening, hours after he said in his floor speech to ‘stay tuned.’ The House is poised to vote on the motion Tuesday afternoon after a separate effort to kill the motion failed.
His actions garnered pushback from Republicans, including those who have traditionally been aligned with Trump.
‘Yes, that is correct,’ conservative commentator Mark Levin said Monday. ‘The guy who says McCarthy is the Democrats’ speaker is plotting and scheming with the radical Democrats to take out a Republican speaker who is more conservative than he is (McCarthy backed the Freedom Caucus CR and the cuts and border security, which Gaetz and 4 others killed).’
‘There are now numerous reports that Gaetz is doing this not because he insists that McCarthy interfered with an ethics investigation of him, which a speaker cannot do and has never done,’ Levin continued. ‘I might add that after two years it’s about time the Ethics Committee release its report and either lift the cloud over Gaetz or clear him. Gaetz should demand this as well.’
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said that while she shares substantive concerns with Gaetz about McCarthy’s leadership, she won’t support a motion to vacate.
‘What I see is a system of failure and a federal government that serves the world first and America last and my desire for wanting to fix it is why I ran for Congress in the first place,’ the Georgia Republican said. ‘So, I agree with Matt Gaetz that things must change, but I don’t agree that a motion to vacate will effectively create the changes needed to solve the intentional systemic failure that create the annual never-ending CR’s and Christmas omnibus mega-spending packages.’
‘A [motion to vacate] of our speaker gives the upper hand to the Democrats during dangerous times while we have been handed over under the presidency of an ailing old man ridden with dementia [who] has spent over 50 years in Washington seats of power corruptly enriching himself and his family by delivering policy deals to foreign investors,’ she added.
Additionally, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that GOP leadership could expel Gaetz from the House Republican Conference and eliminate his committee assignments.
‘Is Gaetz secretly an agent for the Democratic Party? No one else is doing as much to undermine, weaken and cripple the House GOP,’ Gingrich said in a social media post.
Rep. Max Miller, R-Ohio, a former Trump aide who was endorsed by the former president, blasted Gaetz in a post on X on Tuesday, saying, ‘It says a lot that Matt Gaetz and his small crew of supposed conservatives are speaking from the Democrat side of the House chamber.’
‘Instead of working on appropriations bills, we watch as Gaetz joins with Democrats to halt our conservative agenda,’ he added.
And Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., who was endorsed by Trump during the 2022 election, blasted the effort to file a motion to vacate as counterproductive and self-destructive during a floor speech that preceded Gaetz’s on Monday.
‘We are faced with the threat that a Republican will move to vacate the Republican speaker of the House. It will only require four other Republican members to join the Democrats to achieve this result,’ McClintock said. ‘The immediate effect will be to paralyze the House indefinitely because no other business can be taken up until a replacement is elected.’
‘Just when we are on the verge of completing the appropriations process, that in turn will finally initiate discussions with the Senate that are vital to change the dangerous path that our country is on – I cannot conceive of a more counterproductive and self-destructive course than that,’ the California Republican added. ‘The supreme irony is that this is being initiated by self-described conservatives.’
Also on Monday, former senior White House adviser Stephen Miller said McCarthy is ‘not going to be going anywhere’ and called for unity among Republicans to solve border security issues.
‘I think at this point in time, it’s very clear that Kevin is not going to be going anywhere,’ Miller said in an interview with FOX Business. ‘He has the support of 218 members and I understand and I need to – everybody rise above. I understand all the emotions that are playing out right now.’
‘But for the love of God, we are losing this country, and we are losing it fast,’ he continued. ‘Republicans need to unify around the twin mission of stopping the open border invasion and stopping a government that has been weaponized against conservatives and Christians and anyone who does not subscribe to the tenets of the radical left.’
Gaetz’s office did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.