Matt Gaetz frets about House GOP’s precarious majority after George Santos exit

Florida lawmaker worries other GOP members of the House may depart Congress

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Sunday 03 December 2023 21:56 GMT
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George Santos expelled from US House of Representatives in landslide vote

Florida Rep Matt Gaetz is worried.

The controversial right-wing lawmaker fears that following the expulsion of disgraced former congressman George Santos, the slim Republican majority in the House of Representatives is in peril

Specifically, he believes that other GOP lawmakers may also soon exit the lower chamber of Congress.

Speaking on The Charlie Kirk Show, Mr Gaetz, who in October led the ousting of former speaker Kevin McCarthy, said: “Our willingness to self-mutilate on these things really impairs our ability to get the job done.”

He called the expulsion of Mr Santos “tactically stupid” in the context of the narrow majority.

“Congressman Bill Johnson of Ohio has taken a college university presidency that can knock us down to two. And I don’t really think Kevin McCarthy is sticking around long,” he said.

As The Independent has reported, there are signs that Mr McCarthy is heading toward a possible exit from Congress following his unceremonious defenestration by Mr Gaetz.

The Florida Republican continued: “We got a bunch of these octogenarians in our conference. If God forbid, any of them were to cross the Rainbow Bridge, we would be in a situation where we could literally lose the majority because we were so eager to throw George Santos out before even being convicted.”

For his part, Mr Gaetz did push against expelling Mr Santos, arguing for due process, despite the weight of evidence against him and the damning ethics committee report into the Long Island lawmaker.

The committee alleged that Mr Santos “blatantly stole” campaign funds. He is facing a 23-count criminal indictment.

Since his dramatic exit from Congress on Friday, Mr Santos has lashed out at four of his former colleagues posting allegations against them on his X account and threatening to file ethics complaints against them.

Mr Gaetz is also under the scrutiny of the House Committee on Ethics, to give the body its full name, concerning allegations of sexual misconduct and illegal drug use, which he denies. A similar investigation by federal prosecutors led to no charges.

Former speaker McCarthy has alleged publicly that the Florida congressman sought to depose him because he wouldn’t get involved in the investigation.

Mr Gaetz has denied this and called it an “urban legend”.

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