OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has responded after it appeared that Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz threatened to try and have him removed from his position over disagreements with the chamber’s Freedom Caucus.
Punchbowl News managing editor Heather Caygle on Tuesday asked McCarthy about the “constant Twitter threats to oust him” posted by Gaetz and a few others, but the California Republican appeared to dismiss them out of hand.
“Speaker McCarthy asked about @mattgaetz constant Twitter threats to try to oust him: ‘Oh my god, someone tweeted about me? Oh my god, I’m gonna lose the speakership because somebody tweeted about me. That would’ve happened a long time ago,'” she wrote.
Gaetz made it clear earlier this month that McCarthy could be fired if he doesn’t move forward with a vote to launch the inquiry after a number of House committees have uncovered what they claim is ample evidence of nefarious activities, including alleged bribery when he was vice president.
On social media and during a radio interview, Gaetz suggested that McCarthy could face removal for resisting the impeachment push.
“I worked very hard in January to develop a toolkit for House Republicans to use in a productive and positive way,” Gaetz wrote on Truth Social. “I don’t believe we’ve used those tools as effectively as we should have.
“We’ve got to seize the initiative,” he noted further. “That means forcing votes on impeachment. And if @SpeakerMcCarthy stands in our way, he may not have the job long.”
In an interview with talk radio host Todd Starnes, Gaetz noted that Americans he has talked to around the country are “disillusioned with House Republicans right now.”
“They think that we have not put up a substantial battle to defeat the worst elements of this Biden administration,” he added.
Last week, McCarthy declared his support for opening a formal investigation into President Joe Biden’s impeachment.
At a special conference meeting on investigations held by House Republicans on Thursday, McCarthy was also anticipated to make a strong argument that starting an impeachment investigation into Biden is the next sensible step, according to sources familiar with the situation.
The development came as the California Republican has been indicating throughout the recess that he is getting closer to launching such an investigation into the business dealings of the president’s son Hunter, as CNN has previously reported.
As for the constant threat of removal, McCarthy appeared to explode at the GOP conference during a closed-door meeting late last week. During the meeting, McCarthy addressed threats by some House conservatives, Gaetz, ‘vacate the chair’ — force a vote to remove him from his Speakership, The Hill reported.
“If you want to file a motion to vacate, then file the f‑‑‑ing motion,” McCarthy said, according to an account relayed by Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.).
The Hill added:
McCarthy’s comments follow Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) earlier this week explicitly threatening to call a motion to vacate if McCarthy does not follow through with a number of spending priorities and votes on bills that his detractors were promised in January.
And it also comes after hard-line conservatives, who have been battling with GOP leadership for months over topline numbers in spending bills, forced GOP leaders to punt consideration of a Department of Defense (DOD) appropriations bill Wednesday.
“I showed frustration in here because I am frustrated,” McCarthy told reporters following the meeting. “Frustrated with some people in the conference.”
“We had the [Defense Dept.] appropriations bill yesterday, couldn’t put it on the floor,” McCarthy continued. “I don’t have one complaint by any member of what’s wrong with this bill.”
Also, there is a government shutdown looming as well and federal funding runs out on Sept. 30 unless Congress can pass a stopgap funding measure that will extend the deadline until later this year.