Gaetz Assails McCarthy Move Into Speaker’s Office
WASHINGTON — Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., stepped up his rhetoric against House speaker candidate Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Tuesday night, demanding to know why his colleague is already inhabiting the speaker’s office.
Over the course of a brutal afternoon, McCarthy lost three successive votes on whether he should be the next speaker, leading Republicans to call for an adjournment for the day.
Voting on the speakership is set to resume at noon on Wednesday. In the meantime, the House of Representatives remains in limbo as the 118th Congress can’t be sworn in until a speaker is elected.
Gaetz, one of the most outspoken of those objecting to McCarthy being the next speaker, sent a letter to the Architect of the Capitol on Tuesday questioning McCarthy’s decision to move into the office recently vacated by former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“I write to inform you that the speaker of the House Office located in the U.S. Capitol Building is currently occupied by Rep. Kevin McCarthy,” Gaetz said in the letter.
“As of this morning, the 117th Congress adjourned sine die, and a speaker from the 118th Congress has not been elected,” he continued. “After three undeciding votes, no member can lay claim to this office.”
As previously reported by The Well News, 19 Republican lawmakers, including Gaetz, voted against McCarthy during all three rounds of voting on Tuesday, and, Rep.-elect Byron Donalds, R-Fla., joined their number during the final vote of the day.
In all three rounds, the top vote getter was House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., but he too is considered unlikely to prevail, despite calls by some Democrats that their colleagues across the aisle consider the creation of a “coalition government” in the chamber.
In related news, President Joe Biden made his first public comments about the speaker election on Wednesday morning, as he left the White House for an appearance in Covington, Kentucky.
Biden is flying to the home state of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., today to talk up the success of the bipartisan infrastructure law.
Asked about the House’s inability to elect a speaker, Biden said, “that’s not my problem,” before adding that it is “embarrassing” the process is taking so long.
“The rest of the world is looking at this,” he said. “I hope they get their act together.”
Regardless of what happens when the House resumes the speaker election today, Biden said he is going to remain focused on “getting things done.”