McCarthy: Gaetz ‘Working With’ Swalwell to Oust Me

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., accused Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., of working with Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., to oust him from the top position in the lower chamber.

“Matt is working with Eric Swalwell, but let me be very clear,” McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju on Wednesday. “Matt is upset about an ethics complaint. I don’t care what they threaten against me. I’m not gonna interject into an independent committee like Ethics, and I’m not going to put Swalwell back on the Intel committee. So, they can do whatever they want.”

McCarthy was referring to an investigation into Gaetz currently being conducted by the House Ethics Committee, which centers on alleged illicit drug use, sexual misconduct, and lobbying violations.

House Republicans removed Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee earlier this year over allegations of a relationship with suspected Chinese spy Christine Fang.

The speaker’s suspicion of bipartisan collusion between Gaetz and Swalwell to undermine him may stem from a weekend post the Florida lawmaker made on X, formerly Twitter, which read, “Hi, Eric. If I make a motion to remove Kevin, how may [sic] democrat votes can I count on? Asking for a friend….”

In an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday, Gaetz strongly denied any connection between the ethics investigation and his threat to put forward a motion to vacate the chair in Congress.

“I am the most investigated man in the entire Congress, and right there you saw Kevin McCarthy lying like a dead dog because I have never asked him to interfere in any ethics matter,” Gaetz said, adding that the speaker’s comments are an “abject lie from a sad and pathetic man who lies to hold onto power.”

Gaetz refused to back McCarthy’s speakership bid in January and repeatedly cast his ballot against the California Republican in multiple rounds of voting. The Florida congressman relented on the 15th ballot and voted ‘present,’ allowing McCarthy to clinch the speakership.

More recently, Gaetz expressed frustration with what he perceived as a lack of urgency on McCarthy’s part when it came to opening an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden.

“Moments ago, Speaker McCarthy endorsed an impeachment inquiry,” Gaetz said from the House floor on Tuesday. “This is a baby step following weeks of pressure from House conservatives to do more.”

Gaetz also mentioned several demands that haven’t been met that he said were part of the initial agreement McCarthy struck with House conservatives opposed to his speakership. He called for votes on term limits, budget cuts, access to Jan. 6 surveillance footage, and subpoenas for Hunter Biden and other Biden family members.

“I will concede that the votes I have called for will likely fail,” Gaetz said. “I have prepared for that eventuality because, at least if we take votes, the American people get to see who’s going to tolerate the business as usual.”

Nicole Wells

Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.

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