Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) sharply criticized Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), continuing a nearly-year-long feud between the two Republicans. The harsh words came after McCarthy announced that he was stepping down from Congress.
McCarthy discussed a number of topics with a special focus on Gaetz.
“He was psychotic,” said McCarthy. “People study that type of crazy mind, right? Mainly the FBI.”
Gaetz replied “Thoughts and prayers for the former congressman.”
“We had a process,” said Gaetz, “He was removed. He then chose to take his ball and go home, reducing our majority. Kevin’s premature departure shows it was only ever about personal power to him.”
Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy blasts Rep. Matt Gaetz on his final day in Congress: "People study that type of crazy mind" https://t.co/a1cDnmIeYm
— The Hill (@thehill) December 15, 2023
McCarthy said that his departure from Congress was “bittersweet” and “not the timing I wanted to have.”
He did, however, leave the door open about possibly serving in a future Trump administration.
McCarthy has also signaled support for an effort to expel Gaetz from Congress. Gaetz is currently under investigation by the House Ethics Committee over allegations of drug use and personal impropriety.
He has also been accused of campaign finance issues and taking bribes. The House Ethics Committee has been investigating the Florida Republican since 2021.
Earlier this year, McCarthy said that his issues with Gaetz were “personal.” Gaetz replied in an interview with CNN that his issue with McCarthy was not personal, but “about spending.”
Earlier this year, the two lawmakers engaged in a testy exchange on the House floor. Gaetz and a number of members of the House Freedom Caucus opposed McCarthy’s nomination for speaker.
This was the first time a sitting speaker faced a formal removal vote in more than 100 years.
Eight Republicans joined with Democrats in a motion to vacate which ultimately toppled McCarthy, leading to a series of votes that resulted in current Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA).
While McCarthy was eventually elected speaker, the rift appears to have only gotten wider.
In addition, the concessions given to Gaetz and his colleagues also allowed for McCarthy to be more easily removed from his position earlier this year.