Mr McCarthy, who lost his job when eight Republicans turned against him and voted with Democrats, also said that Rep Nancy Mace does not deserve to hold onto her South Carolina seat in 2024.
The former speaker told CNN that Mr Gaetz should face “consequences” for forcing the vote that saw him removed. Mr McCarthy was replaced in the job by Mike Johnson after a chaotic 22-day period in which multiple candidates failed to get enough votes to secure the job.
“People have to earn the right to be here. And I just think from – I mean he’ll admit to you personally. He doesn’t have a conservative bent in his philosophy. And just the nature of what he focuses on,” Mr McCarthy told the network.
Mr McCarthy said that it was up to the conference if the House GOP should expel Mr Gaetz. And he told CNN that he does not “believe the conference will ever heal if there’s no consequences for the action.”
Mr Gaetz was quick to mock Mr McCarthy for his position.
“Thoughts and prayers to the former speaker as he works through his grief,” he told CNN.
Kevin McCarthy says that the House would benefit "tremendously" if Matt Gaetz was no longer in it, and Nancy Mace does not deserve to win reelection. pic.twitter.com/fFFRPu8fG8— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) November 9, 2023
Mr McCarthy also told CNN that he thinks Ms Mace, who is seeking a third term next year, will lose her seat and said he does not “think she’ll probably have earned the right to get re-elected.”
“If you’ve watched her, just her philosophy, and the flip-flopping, I don’t believe she wins re-election,” said Mr McCarthy.
Ms Mace dismissed the criticism and insisted she is an “independent voice” in her party and remains popular with her constituents.
“I mean, this was a guy who lied all the time, like every day. I mean, he told conservatives he was absolutely gonna impeach Joe Biden. Two hours later, the same day, told moderates that he would never impeach Joe Biden, a guy like that can’t lead our country. And we’ve moved on to a much better speaker who’s honest and trustworthy and is going to tell the truth,” she told CNN.
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