The dissidents, led by firebrand Rep. Matt Gaetz, are said to be eyeing House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, Minn., as a potential successor to McCarthy should their plan succeed. However, Emmer has vehemently denied any involvement in the plan.
“I fully support Speaker McCarthy. He knows that and I know that,” Emmer claimed. “I have zero interest in palace intrigue. End of discussion.”
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) September 28, 2023
On Thursday, allies of the speaker delivered a harsh message to Gaetz, telling him to “f-ck off” during a contentious conference meeting. The tussle came after the Florida lawmaker accused McCarthy of launching a smear campaign on social media against him.
The rift has deepened after Gaetz reportedly threatened to file a motion against McCarthy on two separate occasions from the House floor. Gaetz’s grievances are centered around McCarthy’s perceived failure to fulfill his promises since being elected house speaker, particularly a continuing resolution.
Last night, House Republicans agreed that we wouldn’t fund DHS unless e-verify was passed because we’d have to take a vote on HR 2.
Today, 11 hours later, the Continuing Resolution being considered strips mandatory e-verify and worsens our position on the border.
I’m voting… pic.twitter.com/FjrQnYmcLI
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) September 29, 2023
While some Republican lawmakers chose to support McCarthy, others have been vocal in their criticism. One member of the House Freedom Caucus told the Post that while McCarthy has “done some good things,” he was “tired of messaging votes.” Another unnamed lawmaker admitted he told Emmer that “his name has been floated around as replacement if Kevin falters.”
Adding to story, Politico reported that Gaetz even approached some House Democrats in his quest to unseat McCarthy.
“He’s been talking to everybody about it,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., told the media outlet. “I told him in our caucus, in the Progressive Caucus, we’re not planning to save McCarthy — for a whole host of reasons. And so, we really need to get through the shutdown first.”
In addition, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries distanced himself from the GOP, claiming, “I have no interest in what is happening in terms of the GOP civil war, zero interest.”