Even though former House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted from his position nearly two months ago, his feud with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who orchestrated the ouster, appears to be intensifying.
In a Wednesday interview with Politicoabout the influence of Florida's Republican members of the House of Representatives, McCarthy posited that there was a "cross section" of Floridians in Congress.
"You have [Rep. Matt] Gaetz, who belongs in jail, and you have serious members," McCarthy said.
McCarthy didn't specify what crime he thought Gaetz committed, though the remark may have been a reference to the Department of Justice's investigation into Gaetz for alleged sex trafficking of a minor (the DOJ ultimately declined to charge Gaetz with any crimes). Gaetz, for his part, dismissed McCarthy's remark. He also referenced the former speaker's alleged shoving of one of the eight Republicans who voted for his ouster in a capitol hallway earlier this month.
"Tough words from a guy who sucker punches people in the back," Gaetz said. "The only assault I committed was against Kevin’s fragile ego."
Gaetz has been a frequent target of McCarthy's rage. In an interview with CNN's Manu Raju, the former speaker suggested the House would benefit "tremendously" if the Florida Republican was no longer in Congress.
"People have to earn the right to be here," McCarthy told Raju. He adding that he doubted the GOP caucus "would ever heal if there's no consequences" for stripping him of his speakership and prompting a chaotic transition to Rep. Mike Johnson's (R-LA) election to the position.
"People have to earn the right to be here," McCarthy told Raju. He adding that he doubted the GOP caucus "would ever heal if there's no consequences" for stripping him of his speakership and prompting a chaotic transition to Rep. Mike Johnson's (R-Louisiana) election to the position.
In response to McCarthy's comment to Raju, Gaetz offered "thoughts and prayers to the former speaker as he works through his grief."
In October, Kevin McCarthy became the first sitting speaker of the House to be removed from his position via a motion to vacate put forth by members of his own party. Members of the GOP's far-right faction were upset with McCarthy's efforts to work with House Democrats to avoid a government shutdown.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.