Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-FL, indulged in some gloating when former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced he would be leaving Congress at the end of this year. McCarthy’s political career is changing after he was ousted as Speaker by Gaetz.
Immediately after the announcement, Republican politicians, and members of the “chattering class” chimed in. Most wished him well. Gaetz, who is a vocal opponent of the former Speaker and couldn’t resist taking a potshot, was adamant. He wrote in a post to X that “Today is a good day to watch #GaveledOut!” referring to a documentary video about McCarthy’s removal.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) December 6, 2023
Gaetz also wrote “McLeavin” in another post.
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) December 6, 2023
Some lawmakers were more complimentary about the former Speaker.
Rep. Carlos Gimenez, a long-time McCarthy ally told Washington Examiner he was disappointed by McCarthy’s resignation.
Gimenez stated, “I will certainly miss him but I believe the House will be more affected by his absence.”
McCarthy took “years” to build the networks he has, and House Speaker Mike Johnson will need to take “years” to “develop his own network,” according to the Florida Republican.
He continued, “To replace Kevin McCarthy at this time with the short period we have before the next election is an impossible task for Speaker Johnson.” “If he even comes close, I will give him my hat, but it would have negative effects on the conference without a doubt.”
The Washington Examiner reported that House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, (R-LA), wished McCarthy all the best in light of his decision to leave Congress.
Scalise stated, “I would have liked him to remain, but, it’s hard to ask someone to stay when they are weighing longer-term choices.”
Scalise replied, “Every day is a hard day” when asked about his concerns over the thin majority.
He added: “Whether we have a majority of five seats or two, it will still be complex.” “But we have to be more united, and it makes us focus on staying unified,” he said.
McCarthy announced that he would be leaving the House of Representatives at the end of this year and that he would “continue to recruit the best and brightest candidates to run for office in our country.”
Many on the right saw the removal of McCarthy as a victory. Many saw it as an important victory over the Republican Party establishment. McCarthy was not removed from his position by any Republican legislator, except for eight. Gaetz’s attempt to make a political statement would have failed if Democrats had not voted in force to remove the former Speaker.
Many indications indicate that the old guard still controls the GOP despite McCarthy’s political demise. Some Republican politicians have a populist Trumpian bent, but they do not influence the final trajectory of the GOP. It’s not to say the conservative wing has no influence. Mike Johnson, the new House Speaker (R-LA), seems more willing to work with the conservative wing. It was a good move for him to release more J6 footage.
Johnson, on the other hand, accepted the continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown of the government, which caused some concern among his base. Ronna McDaniel, who has a dismal track record of winning elections, still runs the party apparatus. McCarthy’s resignation will not change the fact that the Trumpian elements of the party still do not control the party at this time.