Florida Republican Matt Gaetz says he backs speakership bids by both Representatives Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan, emphasizing that the particular person is less important than their plan to reduce government spending.
(Bloomberg) — Florida Republican Matt Gaetz says he backs speakership bids by both Representatives Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan, emphasizing that the particular person is less important than their plan to reduce government spending.
“I’m for both of them right now — I’m eager to hear their plans and their vision,” he said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power” one day after leading the successful charge to strip Kevin McCarthy of the speakership.
Scalise and Jordan have both announced their candidacy for a House speaker election that could come as soon as Oct. 11.
Gaetz sought to topple McCarthy after he cut a deal with Democrats to avert a government shutdown. The Saturday agreement, Gaetz has said, was just the latest in a series of McCarthy’s broken promises on spending and the US southern border.
Read More: McCarthy Ouster Means More Turmoil as Next Shutdown Fight Looms
The fallout has thrown the Republican Party into disarray as the House hurtles to another round of speaker elections next week — which could echo the 15 ballots it took to elect McCarthy in January. Gaetz’s push demonstrated the power that Republican hardliners hold over the conference, with just eight Republicans able to send McCarthy packing as zero Democrats voted in his favor.
Gaetz accused McCarthy of cutting a secret deal with Joe Biden over funding for Ukraine’s effort to fight Russia’s invasion, and the Florida Republican has consistently decried continued American support for Kyiv.
Gaetz has said he believes it a settled matter that the House should not provide more aid to Ukraine. But asked whether Scalise’s support of Ukraine aid would be a dealbreaker in his speakership bid, Gaetz said it wouldn’t.
“It really is the secret part of the deal that offends me more than someone’s personal views on Ukraine,” he said, referring to his criticisms of McCarthy’s dealmaking.
Gaetz declined to comment on whether he’d spoken with former President Donald Trump since the Tuesday showdown. Trump questioned the wisdom of Republican infighting in a social media post Tuesday, saying the party should be focusing on battling the Democrats’ agenda.
But Trump “has been thoroughly encouraging of my efforts,” Gaetz said, adding that he would see the former president in person at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida next Wednesday — provided he’s not on Capitol Hill voting for the next House speaker.
–With assistance from Annmarie Hordern and Joe Mathieu.
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