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Gaetz says conservatives who voted to remove McCarthy have offered to leave GOP conference

Gaetz says those voting against Jordan are trying to punish 8 conservatives who voted to remove McCarthy

Published: October 20, 2023 12:24pm

Updated: October 22, 2023 6:48pm

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz told reporters on Friday that he and other conservatives who voted to remove former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have offered to face removal from the House Republican conference.

"If what people need is to see the 8 of us wrapped on the knuckles in order to get on to the business of governing" then we are open to consequences, Gaetz said, including removal from the conference.

Gaetz said he and the other conservatives would stay Republicans.

"We are willing to accept censure, sanction, suspension, and removal in order to see Jordan as speaker," he said. "If what these holdouts need are a pound of our flesh, we're willing to give it to them to see Jordan as speaker."

After speaking to reporters, Gaetz wrote on X that “if the holdouts who refuse to vote for Speaker-Designate Jim Jordan would be willing to 'vote with the team' and elect him the 56th House Speaker, we are prepared to accept censure, suspension, or removal from the Conference to accomplish this objective." He posted a letter that the 8 Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy signed and sent to their colleagues. 

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., later noted that he’s no longer affiliated with the letter, emphasizing he’s opposed to having Jordan as speaker. 

Gaetz and Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., argued on Friday that the Republican holdouts voting against Jordan are doing so to punish the group of conservatives that voted to oust McCarthy.

"If we keep voting, Jim Jordan will be elected speaker," said Rep. Bob Good, R-Va.

Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla. is one of the lawmakers who voted against removing McCarthy and continues to vote against Jordan for speaker. He said the offer, from those who voted to oust McCarthy, to leave the conference as a way to elect Jordan should be rejected. 

"That kind of shows this was their plan all along. You can’t reward that behavior," he said on Friday.

After Jordan lost a third round of voting on Friday, McCarthy said the House GOP conference is in a “very bad place right now.”

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