A rundown of the bizarre Republican responses to Kevin McCarthy’s ouster

The House of Representatives is without an active speaker after Kevin McCarthy was ousted from that position on Tuesday—by his fellow Republicans. Petty interim gavel-banger Rep. Patrick McHenry tried to set the tone by blaming Democrats for not fixing the Republican Party’s dysfunction.

McCarthy, for his part, held a press conference after his public humiliation and blamed former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was away at Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s funeral, for his abject failure. Now conservatives everywhere are pointing fingers and spinning the news, alternating between blaming the Democratic Party for McCarthy’s failed tenure as speaker and saying it's super fantastic that McCarthy is no longer speaker and everything is going to be A-okay.

Go figure.

First things first. Traditional media outlets have been giving a lot of credence to the idea that somehow, McCarthy’s terrible track record as speaker isn’t to blame for his inability to retain his position.

Just a little journalism note: Look at the people trying to turn the "Kevin McCarthy refused to make a deal with the only people who could help him, the Democrats" story into a "Democrats screwed up by not saving the guy who lied to them" story. Those are the bad people.

— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) October 4, 2023

Moderate Republican” Rep. Nancy Mace, along with Rep. Matt Gaetz, ran to Steve Bannon’s radio show thingy to talk about how great they were and how without McCarthy as speaker, they can really begin doing more oversight of Hunter Biden’s penis pictures.

Steve Bannon tells Nancy Mace that the only clip that Jack Posobiec and Charlie Kirk played from the impeachment inquiry hearing was hers. Mace: "I'm gonna take that as a compliment." She then starts talking about going after Hunter Biden for sex trafficking. pic.twitter.com/Na6lHbVUaM

— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) October 4, 2023

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wants Trump to become the next speaker of the House because he’s doing well in the polls and “he has a proven four-year record as president,” which is … true? I mean, he was technically president (if twice-impeached) for four whole years.

I’m supporting President Donald J. Trump to be the next Speaker of the House! He has a proven four year record of putting America First and implementing the policies the American people want. President Trump is the man for the job! pic.twitter.com/KFOIb64XMe

— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) October 4, 2023

What does the vice chair of the Republican National Committee believe?

You’ve got to start to wonder out loud if George Soros or some other liberal dark money is behind the idiotic move to derail the House Republican Majority and this pathetic Motion to Vacate effort.

— Nick Langworthy (@NickLangworthy) October 3, 2023

Wowsers. Didn’t see that one coming. Here’s a solid response summing up the theory:


— memes (@OrganizerMemes) October 3, 2023

Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade wasn’t happy and had a fight with Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee about praying.

A little while later, Burchett went on CNN and claimed he had a recording of his conversation with McCarthy—a conversation that “went on in a belittling tone.”

We have two summations of the Republican Party’s talking points the last couple of days.

GOP (Sunday): “Dems are pedophiles!” GOP (Monday): “Dems are Communists!” GOP (Tuesday): “Dems are fascists!” GOP (Today): “Why didn’t Dems help us?”

— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) October 4, 2023

Kevin McCarthy: *agrees to far-right Speaker demands* *gives January 6 footage to Tucker Carlson* *holds debt ceiling hostage* *blocks Ukraine $ for border wishlist* *launches impeachment of Biden* *blames govt shutdown drama on Dems* Media: “Why won’t Democrats save McCarthy?!”

— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) October 4, 2023

After wringing his hands about how badly McCarthy was being treated, Politico reports that Rep. Jim Jordan has thrown his name into the ring to become the next speaker.

Jim Jordan's detractors say his involvement with a sex abuse scandal at Ohio State should disqualify the Congressman from holding GOP leadership positions. His supporters say he could be a fine Speaker in the mold of Dennis Hastert.

— New York Times Pitchbot (@DougJBalloon) October 4, 2023

C'est la vie!

The “Speaker Kevin McCarthy” sign above the Capitol Speaker office is being removed now 👀 ⁦@CNNpic.twitter.com/omRFncVfnE

— Haley Talbot (@haleytalbotcnn) October 4, 2023

Enough with the weak leadership and MAGA circus. Sign the petition: Hakeem Jeffries for speaker!

Gaetz attacks McCarthy in wild House speech

On Monday, Rep. Matt Gaetz announced plans to give a fiery speech on the House floor Tuesday to denounce the lack of political will to impeach President Joe Biden on zero evidence. The Florida man’s promised speech came after a week of public attacks on Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. But just hours before Gaetz’s speech, McCarthy announced that he was calling for an impeachment inquiry into the president.

Some might assume Gaetz was sufficiently undercut by McCarthy’s brief press conference. Some might be wrong. The political theater-loving looney toon took to the floor of the House and began by chastising the speaker for being “out of compliance with the agreement that allowed you to assume this role,” and threatening his party leader with expulsion from his leadership position.

I’m no Sherlock Holmes or anything, but it sounds a lot like the rumored “three-page deal”—the one between McCarthy and wackadoos like Gaetz in the Freedom Caucus that the Republican Party denied existed—might actually exist? But that was all preamble, as Gaetz proceeded to give a speech about the terrible job McCarthy is doing. It included him calling McCarthy’s press conference announcing the impeachment inquiry a “rushed” and “somewhat rattled performance.” Grab some popcorn!

RELATED STORY: GOP denials over ‘three-page addendum’ with McCarthy’s Freedom Caucus deals ring hollow

A couple of quick notes on Gaetz’s speech:

  • He said that his agenda is “the last, best hope for tens of millions of Republicans.” There were more than 158 million votes cast in the 2022 election. Just sayin’

  • Gaetz also said, “Mr. Speaker, dust off our written January agreement. You have a copy.” Paging Sherlock Holmes!

  • He accused the speaker of trying to build a “Biden/McCarthy/Jeffries” government. Teehee!

  • When Gaetz was done filling the House chamber with hot air, the chair made an announcement reminding representatives to “direct your remarks to the chair and not to a perceived viewing audience.”

Transcript has been lightly edited for clarity:

REP. MATT GAETZ: On this very floor in January, the whole world witnessed a historic contest for House Speaker. I rise today to serve notice, Mr. Speaker, you are out of compliance with the agreement that allowed you to assume this role. The path forward for the House of Representatives is to either bring you into immediate, total compliance or remove you pursuant to a motion to vacate the chair.

We have had no vote on term limits or on balanced budgets as the agreement demanded and required. There has been no full release of the January 6 tapes, as you promised. There has been insufficient accountability for the Biden crime family, and instead of cutting spending to raise the debt limit, you relied on budgetary gimmicks and rescissions, so that you ultimately ended up serving as the valet to underwrite Biden's debt and advance his spending agenda.

Mr. Speaker, you boasted in January that we would use “the power of the subpoena and the power of the purse,” but here we are eight months later, and we haven't even sent the first subpoena to Hunter Biden. That's how you know that the rushed and, you know, somewhat rattled performance you just saw from the speaker isn't real at this point.

During Democratic control over the House of Representatives, they had already brought in Don Junior three times, and we haven't even sent the first subpoena to Hunter Biden. Power of the subpoena and power of the purse. Only thing the 118th Congress is known for at this point is electing Kevin McCarthy speaker and underwriting Biden's debt, and unfortunately there's only one of those things we can remediate at this time.

Power of the purse. Our leadership right now is asking us to vote for a continuing resolution. A vote for a continuing resolution is a vote to continue the Green New Deal. A vote to continue inflationary spending. And in the most troubling of fashions, a vote for a continuing resolution is a vote to continue the election interference of Jack Smith.

Mr. Speaker, we told you how to use the power of the purse. Individual single-subject spending bills that would allow us to have specific review, programmatic analysis, and it would allow us to zero out the salaries of the bureaucrats who have broken bad, targeted President Trump, or cut sweetheart deals for Hunter Biden. September 30th is rapidly approaching, and you have not put us in a position to succeed.

There is no way to pass all the individual appropriations bills now. And it's not like we didn't know when September 30th was going to show up on the calendar. I must be better. You must be better and this House must be better, for it is the last, best hope for tens of millions of Republicans. We demand real oversight against this weaponized government.

Just look at the bribery. If tens of millions of dollars flowing from foreign corrupt people into the bank accounts of the Biden family wasn't enough for actual impeachment, why were we even looking? Joe Biden deserves impeachment for converting the vice presidency into an ATM machine for virtually his entire family. We all see it. We all know it. Now, moments ago, Speaker McCarthy endorsed an impeachment inquiry.

This is a baby step following weeks of pressure from House conservatives to do more. We must move faster. Now, I will concede that the votes I have called for will likely fail. Term limits, balanced budgets, maybe even impeachment. I am prepared for that eventuality because at least if we take votes, the American people get to see who's fighting for them and who's willing to tolerate more corruption and business as usual.

Mr. Speaker, dust off our written January agreement. You have a copy. Reflect on the spirit of that agreement and build on the start that we had moments ago began to comply. No continuing resolutions, individual spending bills or bust, votes on balanced budgets and term limits. Subpoenas for Hunter Biden and the members of the Biden family who've been grifting off of this country, and the impeachment for Joe Biden that he so richly deserves.

Do these things or face a motion to vacate the chair. And let me alert the country: A motion to vacate might not pass at first, but it might before the 15th vote. And if Democrats bail out McCarthy, as they may do, then I will lead the resistance to this uni-party and the Biden/McCarthy/Jeffries government that they are attempting to build.

I know that Washington isn't a town where people are known for keeping their word. Well, Speaker McCarthy, I'm here to hold you to yours. I yield back.

Those on the other side of the aisle are understandably baffled.

So let me get this straight: Republicans are threatening to remove their own Speaker, impeach the President, and shut down the government on September 30th - disrupting everyday people’s paychecks and general public operations. For what? I don’t think even they know. Chaos vibes https://t.co/qJyR3e4JWk

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 12, 2023

Why does it seem like Republicans have such a hard time recruiting Senate candidates who actually live in the states they want to run in? We're discussing this strange but persistent phenomenon on this week's edition of "The Downballot." The latest example is former Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, who's been spending his time in Florida since leaving the House in 2015, but he's not the only one. Republican Senate hopefuls in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Montana, and Wisconsin all have questionable ties to their home states—a problem that Democrats have gleefully exploited in recent years. (Remember Dr. Oz? Of course you do.)

Sex trafficking investigation seems to be hurting Rep. Matt Gaetz’s pocketbook

If you haven’t heard, Florida Man Rep. Matt Gaetz continues to be the focus of speculation that he has done some real dirtbag criminal stuff. Since one of his best buds, Joel Greenberg, has cut a plea deal with investigators, there have been numerous reports of witnesses who seem to say Mr. Gaetz has involved himself in human trafficking, sex with a minor, illegal drug use, and possible misuse of campaign funds. This is on top of completely unrelated reports that Rep. Gaetz has received dubious campaign donations from sketchy sources. 

In the meanwhile, Gaetz has alternately hidden from the public, and then burst back into the public on what can only be called political theater events. Along with Marjorie Taylor Greene, and other MAGA diehards who may be feeling the need to find a dictator who can pardon them in the future, Gaetz continues to promote the Trumpian Big Lie that our elections were stolen and that anyone investigating what happened on Jan. 6 is probably a part of the “deep state.”

These moves have seemed desperate attempts to both provide cover for what investigators may very well discover concerning a possible conspiracy to overturn the election results in 2020, and a way to fundraise for elected officials who have voted against every single piece of popular legislation that lands on their desks.

According to ABC News, Mr. Gaetz’s most recent campaign financial disclosures show that the suspected sex trafficker seems to be having a hard time keeping up the big fundraising numbers. In the final quarter of 2021, born-rich Gaetz reportedly pulled in just over $500,000 in donations—less than a third of what the Gaetz campaign was able to fundraise in the final quarter of 2020.

According to ABC, this diminishing return for the Gaetz campaign has been a pattern since Donald Trump lost the election, and certain GOP representatives decided to hitch their train to outright support of transplanting a fascist into power. This follows with how poorly Gaetz and fellow mad king cosplayer Marjorie Taylor Greene’s attempt at fundraising together has gone. Over the summer, the Daily Beast reported that the Gaetz/Greene “joint fundraising committee” were posting “a combined loss of $342,000.” Not to get wonky here, but that’s the opposite of fundraising.

The Daily Beast is now reporting that Gaetz’s legal costs, the costs he put toward paying PR firms to spin the ongoing sex and drug crimes investigations have left his Friends of Matt Gaetz campaign committee at an almost $100,000 net loss on the year. Gaetz told the Beast that he is the only Republican that doesn’t take “lobbyist or PAC money.”

This may be true [once again, see the strange money contributions story about Matt Gaetz]. It may also be true that the money Matt Gaetz has taken for his campaign was used both illegally and for illegal things. But kissing the ring of a wannabe dictator is also costly, according to the Daily Beast.

As is customary for MAGA fixtures like Gaetz, the campaign paid its tributes to Donald Trump, tithing more than $2,200 to Trump properties in 2021. More than half of it came during the final months—$729 on Nov. 2 for lodging at Mar-a-Lago, and $445 for a late-October meal at Trump International Hotel in D.C.

Recently Matt Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend reportedly reached an immunity deal with investigators in exchange for her cooperation in the investigation of the Florida official. Gaetz has steadfastly said that all reports of illegal activities on his part are lies, and that the investigation is a witch hunt of sorts. Does this sound familiar?

Florida Man Rep. Matt Gaetz goes full white fright on Twitter and gets smashed … again

Florida Man Rep. Matt Gaetz was online today, doing what he does online: saying stupid, frequently racist, shite. Gaetz was responding to the story out of St. Louis, Missouri, of the wealthy white lawyer couple who decided to stand in front of their home and threaten peaceful protesters with guns as those protesters walked—legally—down their street, on Twitter. He tweeted out an image of the couple and wrote:

“In Joe Biden’s America your job is illegal, you are locked in your home, borders don’t exist, MS-13 lives next door and the police aren’t coming when the mob arrives. This is all of us.” Such a strange thing to say, eh? Very quickly, Rep. Gaetz’s Twitter feed was overrun with people wondering how Rep. Matt Gaetz is able to type and breathe at the same time. So, #MattGaetzIsATool began trending, as it seems to do at least once every week these days.

Most people are empathetic by nature, so they wanted to give Gaetz some advice.

Got to stop tweeting while drunk, Matt.

— Nickles (@pessoasclerk) June 29, 2020

That’s good advice. Others wanted to remind Matthew that sadly for the entire planet, we are not in any Democratic official’s “America” at this point in time.

The photo was taken in Trump's America.

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 29, 2020

Of course there were the requisite reminders of how cowardly and craven Rep. Gaetz truly is.

As well as footnotes for Gaetz’s understanding of the world around him.

Yep, MS-13 lives right next door, Matt. pic.twitter.com/T4CdSk5zqW

— Cody Johnston (@drmistercody) June 29, 2020

Also a reminder that Matt Gaetz is afraid and he’s a racist.

Rep. Matt Gaetz: "Some might call that 'male privilege or 'white privilege.' You know what? Those terms are just racist terms to try to tell people to shut up, and we're done being quiet." pic.twitter.com/R91GvGT7WO

— The Hill (@thehill) June 23, 2020

At this point, this tweet is also obligatory, as Matt Gaetz … is a tool.

Matt Gaetz doing his obligatory tweet to get #MattGaetzIsATool trending on twitter... once again. You'd think he'd take a day off once and a while but the man is a tool.

— Coddiwomple (@wildjaden) June 29, 2020

And also this, because I’m not cursing if I let someone else do it.

And this one made me laugh.

#MattGaetzIsATool pic.twitter.com/UpKDos5fge

— Ronald Singleterry (@Singleterry) June 29, 2020

Then there’s this.

So we all agree that you are a privileged white person with poor taste, little common sense, who doesn't understand the concept of a well regulated militia and overreacts to the concept of democracy and diversity? Good, that's settled.#MattGaetzIsATool pic.twitter.com/y2JTV3fRTZ

— Devin Nunes' Slowed Down Testing (@tinkerdogcuss) June 29, 2020

And finally.

#MattGaetzIsATool pic.twitter.com/ynk2e7LhwQ

— Lev Parnas & Igor Fruman LLCðÂ�Â�Â� (@KurisuS) June 29, 2020

#MattGaetzIsATool trends big-time after announcement of ‘ethics complaint’ filing against Pelosi

On Thursday morning, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida announced that he had filed an ethics complaint against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for ripping up her copy of Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech. It’s predictable and arguably exactly what Pelosi was expecting, with Gaetz saving network pundits from hours of bad takes on the actual contents of the speech. Gaetz is acting out one of the many theatrical displays of fealty that Republican hacks will be performing for their fearful and corrupt leader. It’s very on-brand for the Republican Party: conducting a witch hunt against a woman, wasting American taxpayer money, and not doing their actual jobs as legislators. 

Gaetz is a special kind of craven, though, as he combines the condescension of Ted Cruz with the piss-poor intellect of Louie Gohmert. This is a man who has in the past tried to intimidate witnesses and has had his own run-ins with the law, all issues of ethics.

After the announcement of the ethics complaint, #MattGaetzIsATool went viral on Twitter.

Because there is video of every hypocritical moment in these many Republican tools’ lives, here’s a reminder of the kind of hypocritical, two-inch-deep politician Matt Gaetz is.

"Let me say right here, right now. Absolutely Donald Trump should release his tax returns." GOP Rep Matt Gaetz #MattGaetzIsATool pic.twitter.com/WcQKygIwIu

— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 6, 2020

And a moment with someone who served his country and actually believes in the oath he took to protect our country’s values and institutions:

Watch GOP Rep Matt Gaetz get told to his face by a Veteran that he�s betraying his oath of office for defending Trump�s high crimes. #MattGaetzIsAToolpic.twitter.com/0jZSKkqiKb

— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 6, 2020

Who doesn’t like a good Trump bill-signing meme?

She shredded those lies and filed them where they belonged, in the trash. It was HER copy of the lies. The President disrespected the House creating a reality show giving a medal to a racist. �� #MattGaetzIsATool pic.twitter.com/FEiLsFHmc1

— Kim Shelton (@KrazyNbama) February 6, 2020

Here’s a riddle.

Q: What do you get when you cross a failed sobriety test, a failed anti-bullying advocate, & a failed steak salesman? A: This photo.#MattGaetzIsATool pic.twitter.com/k33RojydAW

— Eric Wolfson (@EricWolfson) February 6, 2020

Gaetz knows all about House ethics complaints.

That time we filed a House Ethics Complaint against Matt Gaetz for intimidating a witness and obstructing justice #MattGaetzIsATool https://t.co/KggQexAt03

— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 6, 2020

Here’s a visualization of the hashtag.

#MattGaetzIsATool Donald Trump's tool. pic.twitter.com/s6BXW76fZZ

— The Joy of Trolling (@twelthavenue) February 6, 2020

And another one, which makes me laugh. A lot.

#MattGaetzIsATool Imagine thinking Matt Gaetz is a good person to try and lecture you. pic.twitter.com/gyzelJOrMD

— The Joy of Trolling (@twelthavenue) February 6, 2020

And because the children are our future.

This girl is going places!#MattGaetzIsATool #Traitor #CorruptGOP pic.twitter.com/kHnpK0GrQP

— Mark Buckman for Bernie Sanders! (@bAdmArk) February 6, 2020