Watch: Congressman Physically Restrained After Matt Gaetz Refuses to Vote for McCarthy

Frayed nerves all but snapped Friday night after the days-long drama in which a group of Republicans staged a four-day protest to block House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from being elected to the post.

McCarthy was elected late Friday in the 15th vote of the week, but not before an incident The Washington Post characterized as a “near-brawl.”

The drama centered around Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who emerged throughout the week as a staunch foe of McCarthy becoming speaker.

During the week, Gaetz called McCarthy the “Lebron James of special interest fund-raising” and said he “sold shares of himself” to gain power, according to The New York Times.

On the 14th round of voting to elect a speaker, during a session that didn’t even begin until 10 p.m., Gaetz voted “present.” That tactic meant that in the math governing the vote, McCarthy had only 216 votes out of 432, which meant he would be one vote shy of election.

With the VIP gallery packed with family waiting to see the swearing-in, and two McCarthy supporters needing to leave for their home states, it was yet another embarrassing moment for McCarthy, who had assured reporters that afternoon that he had enough votes this time to succeed, according to Post.

As shown by video of the incident, McCarthy and his supporters descended on Gaetz, urging him to change his vote in the time remaining before the count was official.

Amid the heated words, Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama thrust himself to the forefront and spoke to Gaetz.


As Rogers moved close toward Gaetz, Republican Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina wrapped one arm around Rogers’ face from behind and put another firmly on Rogers’ right shoulder to steer him away from the confrontation.

According to Fox News, during the incident, Rogers told Gaetz: “I won’t forget this!”

A photo of Gaetz after the incident showed him flexing his right arm and touching his bicep.

The Post report cited a legislator it did not name as saying that Rogers was enraged at the vote because one offer to the anti-McCarthy holdouts would make Gaetz the chair of a House Armed Services subcommittee. The Post report quoted the source as saying Rogers thought other members were more qualified.

“Might give you some perspective on why Mike Rogers blew up on the floor,” the Post quoted the lawmaker as saying.

McCarthy later said there was no such deal.

“I mean, we ended up with a tie and he was able to get the others there to go ‘present,’” he said.

Asked about a post for Gaetz, he said, “No one gets promised anything.”

The final votes were cast around 12:30 a.m., and McCarthy was sworn in a short time later, the Post reported.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.