House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Thursday delivered a stinging rebuke of Rep. Matt Gaetz and dared the insurgent Republican to try to oust him.
Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida threatened to take action to remove Mr. McCarthy as speaker. He said Mr. McCarthy was “out of compliance” with Conservative demands because he was pushing a stopgap spending measure to prevent a government shutdown on September 30.
“If you think you’re scaring me because you want to move an eviction motion, move the motion,” Mr. McCarthy, the California Republican, told lawmakers during a closed-door meeting of the Republican caucus.
Mr. Gaetz has regularly promised to file a motion to vacate if Mr. McCarthy does not stick to the deal that gave him the gavel, including setting terms limits and amending the budget to a vote, not to release the unfiltered Jan. 6 tapes. And not summoning the president’s son, Hunter Biden.
He said Mr. McCarthy was not living up to the agreement he made with Freedom Caucus members in January to get the votes needed to become president.
Mr. McCarthy opening an impeachment inquiry into President Biden was not enough to satisfy Mr. Gaetz.
“President McCarthy controls his own destiny here. He must immediately and fully comply with our agreement as of January. If he did, there would be no suggestion of eviction. “If he refused — and had these turbulent, emotional, worldly outbursts — we would likely have daily eviction movements,” Mr. Gaetz told The Washington Times.
The spokesman said Mr. Gaetz’s main issue with him was not about not keeping his word, but rather an ethics complaint against the Florida lawmaker. He said the Florida congressman had asked for help with the complaint and added that he would not “intervene in an independent committee like the Ethics Commission.”
Mr. Gates rejected that idea, calling Mr. McCarthy “a sad, pathetic man.”
Mr. Gaetz’s proposal does not have 100% support from his fellow members of the House Freedom Caucus.
Major Conservatives are locked in a showdown with Mr. McCarthy over spending and his efforts to pass a stop-gap bill to keep the government open past the September 30 deadline for its shutdown.
But Rep. Ralph Norman, a Freedom Caucus member from South Carolina, said the House speaker “did some good things” like launching the impeachment inquiry even if he failed to cut spending.
“I’m not disappointed in him,” Mr. Norman told reporters. “Did he overspend? Yes.”
Representative Clay Higgins, Republican of Louisiana, told the Times that he supports Mr. McCarthy. He said differences of opinion were to be expected but that should not lead to the speaker being removed.
“I would advise my colleagues, whom I greatly respect, to be very careful about pulling the trigger on an evacuation proposal,” he said. “Our duty and our oath are to the citizens, and democracy can be very messy.”
Rep. Brian Mast, another Republican from Florida, said after the meeting that Mr. McCarthy “does not live in fear” of the eviction proposal.
“If someone wants to file for eviction, file for eviction, and that’s it, stop disrupting everyone’s work,” Mast told reporters. “Stop holding it over people’s heads like it’s a noose you’re going to try to get someone into.”
• Kerry Pickett contributed to this report.