In a growing schism in the GOP, Matt Gaetz slammed Kevin McCarthy at CPAC: 'He should not be the leader of the Republican conference'

Rep. Matt Gaetz said Kevin McCarthy "shouldn't be the head of the Republican Congress" if he stands for the "bureaucratic permanent state." Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images; Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images/Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Trump allies Matt Gaetz and Steve Bannon punched Kevin McCarthy during an appearance at CPAC.
Gaetz said he doesn't think McCarthy should lead the GOP if he represents "the establishment."
To loud cheers from the crowd, Bannon said Jim Jordan should play the role.
Rep. Matt Gaetz lashed out at House Minority Leader and Trump loyalist Kevin McCarthy during a call with Steve Bannon at CPAC on Saturday, saying the latter should not lead the GOP.
On an episode of Bannon's War Room podcast, broadcast live by CPAC, Bannon asked Gaetz if things would be "same age, same age" in a GOP-led convention.
In response, Gaetz said a GOP-led congress will investigate the origins of COVID-19 and allegations of voter fraud. He continued to attack McCarthy's party leadership.
"If someone claims to be the leader of our party and our movement, they cannot stand for the swamp, the establishment and the bureaucratic permanent state," Gaetz said. “You must support us in exposing these problems. And if Kevin McCarthy won't let us find out the answers, he shouldn't be chairing the Republican conference."
Bannon nodded before asking the crowd, "What do you think of that?"
"Shall we Jim Jordan?" Bannon asked the crowd, positing that Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan could be McCarthy's replacement.
Jordan was one of McCarthy's opponents as a speaker in 2018. It's unclear if he still has such ambitions; He said in 2020 that he would support McCarthy as a speaker in 2022 when the GOP regains its majority in the House of Representatives.
Jordan and McCarthy officials did not immediately respond to insiders' requests for comment.
A growing rift
These comments reflect a split in the GOP that has been growing for months.
GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert fired a warning shot of her own at McCarthy on Saturday. Speaking at CPAC, Boebert said members of the GOP leadership who had not worked with her on issues such as "securing the southern border" would not have her support for re-election or the speaker's role.
"We will not tolerate any other GOP spokesman who works more with Democrats than Republicans," she said.
In November, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said she didn't think McCarthy had the votes to be the Speaker.
“I cannot respect a leadership that doesn't hold people accountable but allows people like me, Paul Gosar, to be constantly trampled and abused and then throw us under the bus at the first opportunity. I really am. I'm sick of it," Greene said during an episode of Gaetz's Firebrand podcast.
In February 2021, members of Congress voted to strip Greene of her committee duties. Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar also lost his seats on both the House Oversight and Natural Resource Committees in November after he tweeted a violent anime video showing him killing Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The GOP divide widened further in April when McCarthy told GOP members of the House on January 10, 2021 that he would urge Trump to resign after the Capitol riot. Gaetz slammed California lawmakers for his comments at the time and hinted days later that he would support Jordan as GOP leader over McCarthy. As late as June, Gaetz pushed the idea of ​​Jordan as the leader of a GOP-led congress.
Nor is Bannon the first conservative media figure to denounce McCarthy. In April, Fox News host Tucker Carlson called him a "Democratic Party puppet" who "sounds like an MSNBC staffer in private."
Trump has repeatedly criticized McCarthy for his leadership. In November, Trump claimed Republicans could have stayed in power if McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had "fought harder."
For his part, McCarthy seems to have managed to smooth things over with Trump, saying in June that "all is well" between them.
In June, Trump endorsed McCarthy for re-election, calling him "strong and fearless."
Read the original article on Business Insider
Matt Gaetz
American politician
Steve Banon
political figure

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