(Jacob Bruns, Headline USA) In a recent appearance on Steve Bannon’s War Room, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., accused former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., of rigging the speaker race after losing his position earlier this month.
Gaetz was responsible for ousting McCarthy on Oct. 3 after filing a motion to vacate, one of several rules changes that the California centrist was forced to agree to in January as a concession during his own election process, which extended 15 rounds.
Bannon started the conversation Wednesday by asking Gaetz to walk him and the show’s viewers through the process of choosing a new House speaker, which—after three weeks of embarassing public infighting and stalemates with the caucus’s top three choices—culminated Wednesday in the selection of Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La.
According to Gaetz, Republicans had to work around the embattled McCarthy from the very start because he was allegedly attempting to regain the speakership for himself.
“Kevin McCarthy was working the whole time to try to get people to believe that the only person who could govern the Republican conference is Kevin McCarthy,” Gaetz began.
As the House progressed through its process, Gaetz detailed the various ways in which McCarthy hindered the ability of Republicans to choose a new speaker.
For instance, when some Republicans moved to nominate Johnson—the eventual victor–McCarthy objected on procedural grounds, going so far as to manipulate his way into the race as a write-in candidate.
Gaetz said that McCarthy’s words and actions “showed everyone” that McCarthy himself was to blame for much of the chaos of the past weeks as he nixed the several candidates put forward in the search.
This included undermining the likes of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., and Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, among others.
But, fortunately for Republicans, McCarthy had not yet turned his attention toward Johnson.
“He hadn’t yet figured out a way to knife Mike Johnson,” Gaetz said, noting that McCarthy’s machinations had “paralyzed” the House.
“For the last three weeks, the reason the House of Representative has been paralyzed, is because for his own selfish gain, Kevin McCarthy was sabotaging the candidacy of anyone else because he was plotting a return,” Gaetz said. “And we stopped it.”
Gaetz also told Bannon that he approved of Johnson, whom he called “a brilliant constitutional attorney,” noting that he has a record of taking on “the toughest cases before the Louisiana Supreme Court.”