When Matt Gaetz stepped to the microphones during Thursday’s three-hour private House GOP meeting on the speakership, the speaker he ousted promptly yelled at him to “sit down.”
Kevin McCarthy was not the only Republican to vent fury with Gaetz, the Florida conservative who successfully ousted the House’s leader. The room met Gaetz with booing, profanities and calls to back off, according to multiple lawmakers in the room. When Gaetz refused, Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) stood up and hollered a command at him that one Republican recalled as: “If you don’t sit down, I’ll put you down.”
It seems that every day without a speaker brings a new release of pent-up anger from the House GOP, which is stuck in the bewildering position of technically controlling a chamber of Congress where it can’t even vote on bills. At the moment, their latest pick for speaker, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), cannot win the gavel on the floor and yet still won’t end his campaign — preventing a half-dozen or more other ambitious GOP lawmakers from jumping into the race.
Republicans’ inability to elect a new leader is so acute that by Thursday, they squabbled over whether to empower a colleague who they wouldn’t elect to control the floor, only to jettison that idea hours later. Those talks about elevating Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) quickly grew nasty as conservatives accused fellow Republicans of pursuing a power-sharing arrangement with Democrats. [Continue reading…]