Here’s a lesson for House Republicans: When you have a chance to expel a sleazy shit-stirrer, take it. Years ago they all found out what a creep Rep. Matt Gaetz is, but GOP leadership decided to protect him. They reopened an ethics investigation against him earlier this year for some allegation possibly related to reports of his sex trafficking of a minor, cocaine-fueled sex parties, or money laundering. But that’s too little too late. If they’d dealt with him two years ago, he wouldn’t be blowing up their fragile majority now.
Now Gaetz is driving a faction of extremist House Republicans to shut down the government for no other reason than his “pissing match” with Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The whole fight just got even more ridiculous, spilling into a closed-door meeting of the whole House GOP conference Thursday morning where members of the leadership team announced they’d be pouring millions of dollars from their personal campaign funds into the National Republican Congressional Committee coffers for the upcoming election cycle. That’s when Gaetz took the floor and the pissing match turned into a shouting match.
Gaetz accused McCarthy of secretly funding a whisper campaign against him on social media, an alleged plot revealed a few days ago by a right-wing influencer on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” show. Supposedly someone representing McCarthy has been offering to pay these right-wing social media personalities to trash Gaetz. McCarthy immediately disavowed the effort and sent a cease-and-desist letter to whoever was behind it. The shady outfit has only been identified as Notorious LLC, which describes itself as a “global content studio and network.” That’s not good enough for Gaetz, who hijacked Thursday’s meeting and goaded McCarthy into a fight.
Gaetz is not going to let this go. “I asked McCarthy a direct question: Were you out there paying for people to try to create a false negative sentiment about me online?” Gaetz told The Hill afterward. He said McCarthy “mumbled and said that he didn’t think enough of me to do that,” adding, “I don’t think you believe that, and I don’t think your readers would believe that.”
That’s what occupied the House’s majority conference on Thursday morning, three days before the government runs out of funding and will have to shut down. McCarthy won’t blink and ask Democrats to help him pass a temporary funding bill to keep things running, and Gaetz won’t relent on his crusade to humiliate McCarthy.
It’s the dumbest soap opera in history, but the consequences are all too real. The outcome is potentially crippling for our economy and damaging to our reputation abroad.
Sign if you agree: No more MAGA circus. Hakeem Jeffries for speaker.
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