Matt Gaetz Says He Wishes Ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy Could Still Vote

U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida said that he wishes former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was still in the lower chamber after his fellow Republicans failed to pass articles of impeachment against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

While appearing Tuesday night on Newsmax’s The Balance, Gaetz told host Eric Bolling that it would have “been nice” to have McCarthy’s vote while watching a handful of Republicans go against the rest of their party after months of seeking to impeach the DHS secretary over his handling of the U.S. southern border. Four House Republicans joined Democrats in rejecting the impeachment bill, although one GOP member, Congressman Blake Moore, changed his vote to a “no” as a procedural measure to allow the House to reconsider the bill at a later time.

“I also wonder, wouldn’t it have been nice to still have Kevin McCarthy in the House of Representatives,” Gaetz told Bolling. “Never thought you’d hear me say that.”

Representative Matt Gaetz speaks with reporters at the U.S. Capitol on January 10, 2024, in Washington, D.C. Gaetz on Tuesday said that he wishes ex-Congressmen Kevin McCarthy and George Santos could still vote after House…

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Gaetz was one of the driving forces behind the vote in the fall that removed McCarthy as House speaker after less than a year in the leadership position. The California Republican announced a few months later that he was stepping down from Congress. A special election to fill his seat is scheduled for March 19.

“Kevin McCarthy, after being dislodged as speaker, took his marbles and went home,” Gaetz continued. “He would have been a reliable vote for impeachment but if he wasn’t speaker, he wasn’t willing to stick around. And I think that the arrant expulsion of [Representative George] Santos, and the abject selfishness of Kevin McCarthy, contributed to this result as much as the three Republican members who voted no.”

Newsweek reached out to Gaetz for further comment via email late Tuesday night.

Republicans are holding onto their majority in the House by a thread. Santos, of New York, was expelled from Congress in December after the House Ethics Committee found “substantial” proof that he had broken federal finance and campaign laws. And former Ohio Congressman Bill Johnson left in January after being offered a president position at Youngstown State University.

Gaetz also told Bolling that he “never missed George Santos more” than after Tuesday’s vote, in which Republicans could only afford to lose two members of their party to pass Mayorkas’ impeachment charges.

“What irony, the New York Republicans who drove Santos out of Congress, who are watching the children in their state being driven out of schools so that those schools can become migrant housing centers, that now we don’t get to execute on an impeachment trial of Mayorkas because they threw George Santos.”

The three Republicans facing heat for their “no” vote include Representatives Ken Buck of Colorado, Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Tom McClintock of California. Buck and McClintock had expressed issues with the charges against Mayorkas prior to the vote on Tuesday, saying that they worry the bill could set a new precedent that allows future GOP administrations to come under fire from Democrats.