Watch: Rep Matt Gaetz Takes GOP Leadership to Wood Chipper- 'I've Had Enough McFailure'
There are those who believe that, despite the Republican Party’s failings in the 2022 midterm elections, it’s not time for a change — particularly now that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is poised to become House speaker.
Don’t count Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz among those who don’t want to rock the boat. In a blistering speech delivered to Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest this week, Gaetz slammed McCarthy as part of the “McFailure” that led to the “red wave” diminishing to a pinkish trickle, at best.
In his speech, Gaetz argued that it wasn’t the conservative, populist message that failed, but rather it was the messengers of the establishment. He also said that “controlled opposition just isn’t going to cut it anymore.”
“Our laws and our tactics must change — but some of our leaders must be changed, too,” Gaetz said.
“Our ancestors, out of love of country, pledged their lives and their fortunes and their sacred honor. Is the best Congress can really do today pledging a vote for Mitch McConnell? Or Kevin McCarthy?” he asked, name-checking the GOP leaders in both houses of Congress.
The remark got applause, as did this one: “I’ve had enough McFailure.”
Kevin McCarthy believes in nothing.
Nothing except money and power – but he failed to deliver the power as promised. pic.twitter.com/ftfa8H8CSd
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) December 20, 2022
“In football, when the team doesn’t win the games it’s supposed to win, they fire the coach. In business, when the company does not match its projected earnings, then the board gets rid of the CEO.
“And so, in Republican politics, maybe I’m not the crazy one if I say that the people who vastly underperformed expectations shouldn’t be promoted to third in line to the presidency.”
Gaetz went on to say what he said “every single Republican member of Congress knows in their heart, whether they’ll admit it or not: Kevin McCarthy believes in nothing.”
Here are Gaetz’s full remarks:
Gaetz has used the “McFailure” line before on Twitter — including Republican National Committee head Ronna McDaniel in the failure heap, as well.
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) November 10, 2022
The remarks come as conservative Republicans have voiced opposition to McCarthy becoming the next speaker of the House, not just because of the party’s lackluster midterm performance but because of his perceived centrism.
Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, a prominent member of the GOP’s conservative wing, has announced he plans to challenge McCarthy for speaker, arguing that the current House minority leader “was created by, elevated by, and maintained by the establishment.”
I’m running for Speaker to break the establishment.
Kevin McCarthy was created by, elevated by, and maintained by the establishment.https://t.co/tKLPXUxSOA
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) December 6, 2022
“The Left wants to see a McCarthy Speakership, as outgoing Majority Whip Clyburn said. Establishment Republicans want to see a continuation of the Swamp, as Paul Ryan has endorsed McCarthy for speaker. And, even phony conservative types, claim that McCarthy is the only guy for them (see radio talker Mark Levin for example, who after blasting McCarthy for years has decided that he is perfect for the job),” Biggs wrote in a piece for the Daily Caller.
“We actually have the opportunity to dislodge the establishment and reinvigorate the America First movement that was founded by former President Donald Trump. Yes, that Donald Trump.”
Unfortunately, “that Donald Trump” has backed McCarthy — if not with the most full-throated endorsement one could hope for.
In an interview with Breitbart last week, Trump endorsed McCarthy and said that “he deserves the shot,” but Trump seemed more wary about the unintended consequences of a divided Republican caucus than he was enamored of the current leader, pointing to what happened when conservatives chased former GOP House Speaker John Boehner out of office in 2015.
“I think it’s a very dangerous game that’s being played,” Trump said. “It’s a very dangerous game. Some bad things could happen. Look, we had Boehner, and he was a strange person, but we ended up with Paul Ryan who was ten times worse. Paul Ryan was an incompetent speaker. I think he goes down as the worst speaker in history.”
Trump also warned of a “doomsday scenario” in which establishment Republicans sided with Democrats to elect an even more RINO-ish speaker than Ryan ever was.
These aren’t unconvincing arguments — and it’s why McCarthy will likely survive the Biggs challenge, even if he remains a compromise choice.
That said, Gaetz makes a salient point about the McFailure of the establishment. It’s not just a neat rhetorical device that the GOP party leader, House leader and Senate leader all have names that coincidentally start with the same syllable. They’ve run the GOP as if it were a reliable franchise that voters stop off at every two years because they can’t find a better political eatery. That didn’t work in 2022, and it’s not going to work going forward. The Republicans might not change leaders, if just because of the logistics, but they should demand that their leaders change their lukewarm political tactics.
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