Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), during the recent House speaker selection process, threatened to resign, the Washington Examiner reports.
Gaetz made the threat after round 11 of voting. At this point, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was still a long way away from obtaining the speakership, and Gaetz was a significant part of the reason why.
Gaetz was one of about 20 House Republicans who refused to support McCarthy. And, unlike many of those other Republicans, Gaetz's made it clear that his opposition to McCarthy could not be overcome, regardless of what concessions McCarthy was willing to make.
During an appearance on the Fox News Channel, on Thursday night, Gaetz explained his position.
He’s the masthead of the lobby core. I resent to which Kevin McCarthy utilizes the lobbyists and the special interests to be able to dictate how political decisions are made, how policy decisions are made, how leadership decisions are made. Kevin McCarthy has been in the leadership for 14 years. He’s sold shares of himself to special interests, to political action committees, and that’s why I don’t think he’s right.
Gaetz and the other House Republicans' opposition to McCarthy, however, was not without risk. Two big risks, in particular, were that Democrats might try to team up with Republicans to elect a centrist speaker or that McCarthy might make concessions to the Democrats in order to get enough votes to become the speaker.
It is with these ideas in mind that Gaetz threatened to resign.
During that Fox News appearance, he said, “If Democrats join up to elect a moderate Republican, I will resign."
This did not happen, though. And so, Gaetz did not resign.
Instead, in the 15th round of voting, after having made numerous concessions, McCarthy earned enough votes to become the next speaker of the House.
Gaetz never gave in. He and five other Republicans voted "present," which effectively lowered the threshold that McCarthy needed to reach in order to become speaker.
Gaetz drew a lot of attention to himself for his actions during the speakership selection process.
Gaetz also drew backlash from many House Republicans, for example, when he accused McCarthy on the House floor on Friday of "vanity " for continuing to seek the speakership despite not having the votes. Gaetz also got into a spat with Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), which almost led to a physical altercation.
It remains to be seen whether Gaetz hurt or helped his popularity with these actions.