Matt Gaetz slams McHenry for sending House home ‘to cry for a week’

MrGaetz criticised Mr McHenry’s decision to call a recess saying it gives the House lawmakers a week of ‘hand-wringing and bedwetting’ before a new speaker is handed the gavel

Martha McHardy
Thursday 05 October 2023 06:53 EDT
Matt Gaetz challenges Speaker Kevin McCarthy on House floor

Matt Gaetz has slammed Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry for sending lawmakers home “to cry for a week” – instead of immediately calling a vote to appoint the next speaker.

Kevin McCarthy was ousted as speaker of the House of Representatives on Tuesday in a historical first for the US.

Mr McHenry became speaker pro tempore as a result and will remain in the role temporarily until a formal vote can take place to find Mr McCarthy’s successor.

After taking the helm, Mr McHenry said that the House would go into recess until next week so that Democrats and Republicans can meet separately to “discuss the path forward” to find the next speaker.

But MrGaetz, who led the charge against Mr McCarthy, has now criticised Mr McHenry’s decision saying it gives the House lawmakers a week of “hand-wringing and bedwetting”.

“I do have to offer some pretty sharp criticism of the new pro tem of the House, Patrick McHenry. We met tonight, and he sent us home until Tuesday of next week,” he told Newsmax.

“We should be here tomorrow, working to elect a new speaker, getting onto our appropriations bills and engaging in a negotiation with the Senate to get the government funded, but instead these people got to go home and cry for a week.”

He added: “They’ve got to go do a week of hand-wringing and bedwetting over the fact that Kevin McCarthy isn’t Speaker anymore. This institution is about more than one man.”

He added that Mr McHenry’s decision to delay the return to normal business in the House was “moving in the wrong direction”.

Matt Gaetz hit out at Patrick McHenry

“So McHenry has the power of the Speakership now, and literally his first act as the acting Speaker of the House was to send everyone home till Tuesday,” Mr Gaetz said.

“That’s moving in the wrong direction.”

He addedL “We got to get a new Speaker and we’ve got to get leadership to understand a sense of urgency that your viewers and the American people all feel.”

No additional votes are expected for the rest of the week, with Republicans expected to meet next Tuesday to select their pick for speaker.

U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) answers questions at the Capitol after being ousted as House speaker

There is no obvious replacement for Mr McCarthy. However,The Washington Post reported that some Republicans have said they will renominate Mr McCarthy for speaker and not allow the House to adjourn until he’s re-elected.

Mr McCarthy has meanwhile confirmed that hewill not make another bid for speaker after his ousting as he said his defeat was due to Gaetz’s personal dislike of him.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Mr McCarthy tore into Mr Gaetz saying: “It was personal.”

The Florida congressman later denied this claim as “totally false”.

Mr Gaetz has instead insisted he moved to oust Mr McCarthy after he broke his word to conservatives on government spending packages and helped to avert a government shutdown by approving stopgap legislation to keep the government running for the next 45 days.

US Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) speaks to members of the media outside the office of US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on 3 October 2023

Mr McCarthy was stripped of his title as the highest-ranking member of the GOP in the US government after eight of his own party joined with 208 Democrats in a parliamentary manoeuvre that hadn’t been tried in over a century, known as a motion to vacate the chair.

The former speaker said he does not regret supporting the stopgap funding bill.

“Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it is necessary ... I don’t regret standing up for choosing governance over grievance ... I do not regret negotiating for government is designed to find compromise, I don’t regret my efforts to build coalitions and find solutions. I was raised to solve problems, not create them,” he said on Tuesday after he was ousted.

“So I may have lost the vote today, but as I walk out of this chamber, I feel fortunate to have served the American people”.

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