Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy blew up in a closed-door meeting with Republicans on Thursday—essentially daring the farthest-right members of his party to try to take away his gavel.
Some far-right Republicans have suggested removing McCarthy as the Senate approaches a vote on an appropriations bill that doesn’t include all their priorities. In the meeting on Thursday, McCarthy challenged the members of his party to try.
“If you think you scare me because you want to file a motion to vacate, move the fucking motion,” McCarthy said, according to Politico reporter Olivia Beavers.
It’s likely one of the Republicans catching McCarthy’s heat is far-right Republican Representative Matt Gaetz, who publicly called for McCarthy’s removal as speaker earlier this week. Gaetz was one of the last holdouts when McCarthy was first elected House speaker, and now he is asking Democrats to join his efforts to oust McCarthy.
Gaetz has also criticized McCarthy’s call for an impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden, saying that the House speaker doesn’t intend to actually impeach the president. “He’s throwing impeachment out like an ill-cast lure,” Gaetz said in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday.
Lashing out is becoming more common for McCarthy, who also snapped during an interview on CNN on Wednesday about how he rushed through the impeachment inquiry without having enough votes.
Some Republicans have admitted that McCarthy likely ordered the launch of an impeachment inquiry into Biden on Monday—despite not having found any evidence of wrongdoing by the president, and without the support of his full party—in an effort to unite House Republicans.
Republican Senator Mike Rounds said it “wouldn’t surprise” him if McCarthy had launched the impeachment inquiry to help keep House Republicans together on appropriations issues. The federal government will partially shut down if Congress can’t get its act together and pass an appropriations bill by the end of the month.
Gaetz, for his part, responded to McCarthy’s expletive-ridden remarks with one of his own: