Following Congress’ surprising last-minute votes to avoid a government shutdown, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Pensacola, said on CNN Sunday morning that he would move to oust Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy as House speaker this week.
“I do intend to file a motion to vacate against Speaker McCarthy this week. I think we need to rip off the Band-Aid. I think we need to move on with new leadership that can be trustworthy,” Gaetz told CNN host Jake Tapper.
Gaetz then alleged that McCarthy had lied to House Republicans.
Because of the concessions McCarthy made to become speaker, any one member of the House can force a vote on removing him, which requires a majority to pass. Gaetz told Tapper he had enough Republicans lined up so that the only way for McCarthy to keep his job would be if Democrats agreed to “bail him out.”
McCarthy responded during his own Sunday morning TV appearance.
“I’ll survive,” McCarthy said on “Face the Nation,” before saying the conflict with Gaetz was “personal.”
“He’s more interested in securing TV interviews than doing something,” McCarthy said of Gaetz. “Bring it on. Let’s get over with it and let’s start governing. If he’s upset because he tried to push us into a shutdown and I made sure government didn’t shut down, then let’s have that fight.”
The bill that passed Saturday prevented the shutdown of the federal government, which would have begun at midnight Sunday morning had no action been taken and delayed funding for hurricane recovery in Florida, among other things. To get the short-term funding bill passed, McCarthy had to lean on support from House Democrats in order to make up for the “no” votes from hardline Republican holdouts.
Eight Republicans in Florida’s congressional delegation plus all the state’s Democratic representatives voted in support, while 10 Florida Republicans, including Gaetz, voted against. Two Florida Republicans, Reps. Anna Paulina Luna and Byron Donalds, did not cast votes.
A spokesperson for Luna did not respond to an email Sunday morning asking why she did not vote. Donalds posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that “voting closed before I could cast my NO vote.” A spokesperson for Donalds did not immediately respond to an email asking for additional information about why he missed the vote.
In addition to the national implications of all the congressional Republican infighting, the Gaetz v. McCarthy battle has significance for Florida as well. Gaetz is widely rumored to be considering a run for Florida governor in 2026.
This is a breaking story that may be updated.