Factions within the Republican Party have found themselves in a dogfight to determine who will lead the party caucus in the House of Representatives.
Freedom Caucus members, including Matt Gaetz of Florida, have publicly discussed their disagreements with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and are opposing his effort to become speaker.
Gaetz took some time before the first round of voting on Tuesday to explain his and his colleague’s reasons for their rebellion.
“If you want to drain the swamp, you cannot put the biggest alligator in charge of the exercise,” the congressman stated. “I am a Florida man and I know of what I speak.”
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) January 3, 2023
With Colorado firebrand and fellow “no” vote Lauren Boebert standing behind him, Gaetz explained that during discussions between McCarthy and the Freedom Caucus, the caucus gave him a list of demands as a condition of their support.
Gaetz said these demands included a vote on term limits, a vote on a budget devised by the Republican Study Committee, and a vote on the Texas delegation’s border plan, among other things.
All of them, according to Gaetz, were rejected by the longtime GOP leader.
This public display of defiance comes after weeks of GOP infighting in the wake of disappointing national results in the 2022 midterms.
While many Freedom Caucus members are on the same page about McCarthy, there are some rather surprising “yes” votes among them.
“Lying to the base is a red line for me, and that’s what five of my closest colleagues are doing when they claim a consensus House speaker candidate will emerge as they oppose Kevin McCarthy,” Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia said last month.
“Here’s the reality: No one is running against Kevin McCarthy for speaker.”
The anti-McCarthy rebels were able to force a second ballot to determine the speaker, a first since 1923. Nineteen GOP members voted against McCarthy, more than enough to defeat his effort.
In the second round, the “no” votes stayed resolute, with Gaetz nominating Jim Jordan of Ohio as an alternative despite Jordan’s support for McCarthy.
The third round of voting is underway.
Democrats, for their part, have unanimously elected Hakeem Jefferies of New York as their leader.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.