Kevin McCarthy it was knowing that he would lose his bid to become chairman of House of Representatives on the first vote, three people familiar with the situation said A rolling stone. What he did not personally predict was that the beatings would continue for a week. “He knew he was going to be screwed — he just didn’t know he was going to be screwed so many times or so hard,” explained one congressional aide.
Among the main factors in McCarthy losing more than a dozen speaker ballotssaid people familiar with the matter, was the seriousness of the Florida representative. Matt Goetzthe feud of the Republicans. Goetz’s strong and personal dislike of McCarthy has been an open secret in Washington political circles for years, so much so that colleagues of Goetz and McCarthy would argue it’s no “secret” at all.
But Goetz’s hatred turned into something even more powerful after it was revealed in early 2021 that the MAGA congressman was the target of a federal investigation into the sex trafficking of minors. (Goetz was not charged, but his “accompanying” Joel Greenberg was sentenced to 11 years in prison.) McCarthy, in Goetz’s opinion, failed to mount a strong enough defense on his behalf. According to two sources familiar with the matter, Goetz has been angry with McCarthy for a perceived lack of support since then — despite the fact that McCarthy did not remove him from any committee assignments during the investigation.
The feud between the two Republicans spilled out onto the House floor during Friday night’s 14th vote, which McCarthy boasted would finally put him over the top to secure the speaker’s gavel. Goetz put himself at the center of the drama. He missed his turn in the alphabetical voting, setting himself up to vote at the end of the proceedings. With McCarthy needing another yes vote, Goetz instead voted “present” — leaving McCarthy with 50 percent of the vote, a hair’s breadth from victory. McCarthy approached Gaetz on the House floor, and the foes had a heated exchange that didn’t change the overall outcome. McCarthy was left hanging again. (Gaetz again voted “present” along with the other Never Kevin rebels on the 15th vote, which finally gave the gavel to McCarthy.)
The original source of Rep. Gaetz to McCarthy is less clear. A rolling stone contacted members of Congress, Capitol Hill sources and activists at conservative organizations to ask what the root cause is. They all just knew Goetz hated the House GOP leader. One Republican who knows both Goetz and McCarthy says they even once asked the latter why Goetz disliked him so much. That source recalled McCarthy replying, “I don’t know.”
Goetz’s animosity toward McCarthy was on full display all week as he stood up to deliver nominating speeches on behalf of Jim Jordan and Donald Trump. “Maybe the right person to be speaker of the House is not someone who wants it that badly,” Goetz said when he nominated Jordan. “Maybe the right person to be Speaker of the House is not someone who has been selling his stock for over a decade to get it.”
“We need to bring back to the Speaker’s office the actual person who should be in the Speaker’s office, not squatting who is currently there,” he later added while nominating Trump. “And if the Architect of the Capitol is listening—I send a letter, and I would like to know what is the rationale for allowing someone to occupy the Speaker’s office who has been second in line ten times? Is there any basis in law, rule or precedent for this?’
Both men nominated by Goetz worked to attract votes for McCarthy. Jim Jordan nominated McCarthy in a powerful speech. Meanwhile, Trump did a public appeal by Truth Social to Republicans to support McCarthy. Both the former president and his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., have also made phone calls in recent days to Republican members of Congress in support of McCarthy, two sources familiar with the matter said. The former president’s recent lashing of McCarthy was described by a person with direct knowledge of one of the calls as “nonsense.”
Asked to comment on reports that he personally despises McCarthy — and that his hatred was fueled by McCarthy’s failure to aggressively defend him during the sex-crimes investigation — Goetz’s office did not deny that. Instead, they pointed A rolling stone in a televised interview Thursday, in which the congressman said he would not vote for McCarthy “under almost any circumstances,” while insisting his motivation was principled, not personal.
“Kevin McCarthy is the main leader of the lobbying core,” Goetz told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham when asked point-blank if his grudge against McCarthy was personal. “I resent the extent to which Kevin McCarthy is using lobbyists and special interests to be able to dictate how policy decisions are made, how policy decisions are made and how leadership decisions are made. Kevin McCarthy has been on the board for 14 years and has sold his stakes to special interests, political action committees. And that’s why I don’t think he’s a good choice.”
McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
By midday Friday, it was clear that McCarthy’s less sympathetic opponents were willing to accept his concessions, bow to McCarthy’s spirit and let the House get down to business. Fourteen of them changed their vote for McCarthy during the 12th ballot, and another, Andy Harris, dropped out during the 14th. McCarthy is shouting that he will have the votes to win the speakership on Friday night. Getz also seemed to recognize the inevitable. “I think the House is in a much better place with some of the work that has been done to democratize power outside the presidency,” he said. “And that’s our goal.”
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