Yesterday, speaking on the right-wing Real America’s Voice network, Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said that he “would rather be waterboarded by Liz Cheney” than support Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House. And, Gaetz said, he is not alone in that sentiment within his party.
Gaetz floated several names he’d rather see in the position, including recent DINO Tulsi Gabbard, perhaps one of the least popular people in the country. That would be a hard sell, of course, as her entire appeal would be that she would be a thumb of the nose at Democrats.
Matt Gaetz suggests Tulsi Gabbard as a possible Republican Speaker of the House, adding "there are definitely at least five people, actually a lot more than that, who would rather be waterboarded by Liz Cheney than vote for Kevin McCarthy" pic.twitter.com/LxRaecOJVC
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) November 14, 2022
The Florida rep also suggested several people who are not currently members of Congress, even saying that they should consider “dusting off” Newt Gingrich – because if there’s anyone who can bring the country together, it’s a slimy old Newt (pictured below in actual size and influence).
Gaetz also suggested Donald Trump’s former DHS Secretary Chad Wolf as a possibility.
And guess what? Gaetz has split with his bestie MTG on her support of McCarthy and his lack thereof. Uh oh.
The Constitution does not mandate that the speaker be a current member, though every speaker in history has been.
Gaetz joins a growing tide of Republicans casting blame on McCarthy for the failure of the promised “red wave” to materialize.
Andy Biggs (R-AZ) has also voiced opposition to McCarthy and is said to be considering running against him for the speaker position.
“Look, we were told we were going to have an incredible, incredible wave,” Biggs kvetched on a streaming show. Had that occurred, “you would say, ‘Well, OK, Kevin is the presumptive Republican nominee for speaker.’ But I think we need to have a serious discussion.”
Protip for Kevin McCarthy today:
Don't have coffee with Elise, stand near a window with Gaetz, walk down stairs in front of Margie Splayfoot. And I'd keep a weather eye out for Gym; he's going to move on you like a Ohio State wrestling coach.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) November 9, 2022
McCarthy, meanwhile, has been getting a considerable amount of support from one ally: Donald Trump – who, CNN has reported, has not only given his full endorsement on Fox News, but has also been making calls and pressuring reps to get behind McCarthy.
Kevin McCarthy had a chance to burry Trump after January 6th.
He chose to resurrect him.
He chose poorly.
— Chris Hahn (@ChristopherHahn) November 11, 2022
But of late Trump’s support doesn’t seem to be worth much.
He might be — as The Hollies once sang — King Midas in reverse — everything he touches turns to…well, you know what.
Considering that many GOP members are already considering Trump largely at fault for their disappointing returns — and starting to look toward people like Ron DeSantis to take his mantle — it’s unlikely that they’ll heed his advice when it comes to leadership in Congress.
So maybe they’ll have to waterboard Gaetz after all.
Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.