What appears to be a draft of a motion to vacate the House Speaker written by Florida Rep Matt Gaetz was found in a men’s restroom below the House floor, according to a report.
The top of the page reads: “Declaring the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives to be vacant.” The draft was dated 15 September 2023.
This finding isn’t too surprising as the Florida Republican has repeatedly threatened to remove House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his post. Mr Gaetz recently told reporters: “If we have to begin every single day in Congress with the prayer, the pledge and the motion to vacate.”
Last week, Mr Gaetz made a number of demands on the House floor for Mr McCarthy to comply with — otherwise, he faces being ousted. One such demand was to avoid passing temporary spending measures to prevent a government shutdown.
The government will shut down if a bill to prevent it isn’t passed by the end of September. Mr McCarthy previously expressed that he intends to avoid a shutdown, telling reporters last week: “Nobody wins in a government shutdown. Nobody wins. I’ve been here.”
“It’s put up or shut up time not just for McCarthy but for the 20 because if we aren’t serious about bringing him into compliance with the deal, then we were never really serious about the deal in the first place,” Mr Gaetz added.
He seemed to be alluding to the 20 House Republicans who voted against Mr McCarthy’s speakership in January, causing inter-party turbulence. It took 15 voting rounds before Mr McCarthy was finally elected House speaker.
The House speaker seems to be cornered. Those within his own party and across the aisle are blasting him.
Rep Jamaal Bowman, a Democratic New York Congressman, also weighed in on Mr McCarthy. He posted a video of Mr Gaetz’s speech saying this reaction is what Mr McCarthy “created.”
“You are the worst kind of coward and now you reap what you sow. You have cow-towed and bent to the demands of the most EXTREMIST zealots in your party at the cost of our institutions and Democracy,” Mr Bowman wrote.
He continued, “You might be Speaker today, but if you don’t stand up to this harmful element of your own party, you will allow them to destroy you and us in the process. Mr. Speaker, grow a back bone. Because until then, you do not SPEAK for anyone.”
Florida Democratic Rep Maxwell Frost posted on X: “The weakest Speaker in the history of our country: Speaker Kevin McCarthy.”
In response to Mr McCarthy launching an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, Democratic Rep Gerry Connolly wrote, “Kevin McCarthy is feeding the right-wing outrage machine so he can placate his craziest Members who are threatening to oust him from his post. It’s a sham, it’s pathetic, and the American people know it.”