It didn’t seem like Matt Gaetz could become even more unpopular among his Republican colleagues. The legislative kamikaze ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy and plunged the House into unprecedented chaos.
But then Gaetz sent out an ill-conceived fundraising blast Tuesday night, ripping colleagues who aren’t lining up to support Jim Jordan, the pugnacious Ohio representative who’s never introduced a single bill that’s been signed into law.
While the majority of Republicans, including Gaetz, support Jordan for Speaker, 22 members of the GOP failed to back him Wednesday. Many of the defectors sit on the appropriations committee, and harbor understandable reservations about electing a speaker who’s never seemed interested in actually governing.
The aforementioned email called those Republicans “RINOs,” and said they are “working with RADICAL DEMOCRATS like AOC, ILHAN OMAR and RASHIDA TLAIB to BLOCK JIM JORDAN FROM BECOMING SPEAKER!!!”
But there’s only one problem with that: Gaetz did the exact same thing! He voted with the entire Democratic caucus to oust McCarthy.
Already outraged about Gaetz’s shenanigans, some House Republicans didn’t hold back when blasting the political nepo baby. New York Rep. Mike Lawler, who’s already called Gaetz a “vile person,” led the charge.
It’s hard to argue with that!
Gaetz is a RINO.
— MacFella (@JamesMac064) October 18, 2023
Lawler’s accurate criticism prompted Gaetz to walk back the email’s strong words, blaming the missive on an outside entity.
“This email was sent by a vendor without my team’s approval. It should not have been sent,” he tweeted.
It sure looks like the anti-LGBTQ+ Florida Republican has overplayed his self-aggrandizing hand, with his own supporters now even turning on him.
“He’s a dirtbag person,” Chris Smith, a voter who lives in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, told CBS News this week.
“He does what he does to get on TV,” added Aaron Mayer, who lives in Pensacola and typically votes for Republican candidates.
While Gaetz hails from a deep red district, his seat may not be safe, especially if he gets #cawthorned. Famously, Republicans retaliated against ex-congressman/MAGA queen Madison Cawthorn after he claimed on a podcast that he had been invited to drug-fueled orgies in Washington, D.C. by other members of the GOP.
Shortly after making those remarks, footage of Cawthorn was leaked online. One of the videos showed him butt naked in a hotel room humping another man’s face. (The man was rumored to be his cousin.) Another showed him having his crotch fondled by a male aide in a car
There were also photos leaked showing him drunk and dressed in women’s lingerie.
Gaetz, otherwise known as “Rapey McForehead,” was at the center of a teen sex scandal, in which he was accused of supplying a 17-year-old girl with drugs and alcohol, flying her to to the Bahamas, and having sex with her.
This led to additional accusations that Gaetz was involved in a larger sex trafficking operation, and that he regularly paid women for sex via Venmo and Cash App and engaged in illegal drug use.
Tellingly, few of Gaetz’s Republican colleagues defended him at the time. Sen. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma implied to CNN that’s because they believe the accusations are credible.
“There’s a reason why no one in the Congress came and defended him: because we had all seen the videos he was showing on the House floor—that all of us had walked away—of the girls that he had slept with,” he said.
Mullin also alleges Gaetz would brag about how he “crushes E.D. medicine” and “chases it with energy drinks so he can go all night.”
With Republicans still unable to elect a Speaker, expect the infighting to continue. On Wednesday, California Rep. Mike Garcia proposed they “stop with the therapy sessions” and sequester themselves away from the Capitol.
If the majority of the GOP caucus had its way, Gaetz would probably be left off that invite list.
Instead, they’re stuck with him. Too bad!