House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) engaged in a heated exchange during a closed-door meeting with the Republican caucus on Thursday, according to witnesses.
During this confrontation, Gaetz accused McCarthy of utilizing online influencers to attack him, a claim that led to intense exchanges. McCarthy refuted the accusation, dismissing Gaetz’s claims and stating he wouldn’t engage in such actions.
Another source revealed that McCarthy questioned Gaetz’s contributions to expanding the GOP’s majority, highlighting his own financial support for GOP candidates and members.
In the aftermath, Gaetz seemed to confirm the heated exchange with the Speaker.
“I asked him whether or not he was paying those influencers to post negative things about me online,” Gaetz said. In addition, he confirmed that McCarthy said he wouldn’t waste his time. “Yeah, that is what he said,” the Florida Republican admitted.
Gaetz was FURIOUS, stating that: “My blood pressure is like 120 over 80. So I’m feeling great.”
A spokesperson said he had “had absolutely no role” in the alleged online campaign and that “all signs” pointed to a Democrat-run operation.
“I am outside counsel to Speaker Kevin McCarthy. I understand based on multiple reporter inquiries that reference your name that you are reaching out to social media influencers about a ‘Against Gaetz and government shutdown’ and claiming it is on behalf of Speaker McCarthy and/or entities purportedly affiliated with the Speaker. That is false and in violation of the law,” the email said, according to Fox News. “This email puts you on notice that you must immediately cease and desist or we will move forward with all remedies under the law including the pursuit of damages where warranted.”
The recent confrontation marks another clash between the two Republicans. Earlier in the week, Gaetz came close to proposing a motion to vacate the Speakership during a speech on the House floor.
“[T]he House of Representatives has been poorly led. We own that, and we have to do something about it. My Democrat colleagues will have an opportunity to do something about that, too, and we will see if they bail out our failed Speaker,” he said.