Gaetz filed a motion to vacate the speakership on Monday. The Florida Republican had repeatedly threatened to do so in recent weeks over criticism of McCarthy’s willingness to work with Democrats to avert a government shutdown and potentially provide continued funding to Ukraine’s war against invading Russian forces.
When reached for comment, the office of Gaetz pointed Newsweek to a post that Gaetz made in response minutes later: “Just did.”
Prior to filing the motion, Gaetz argued in a speech from the floor that it was “becoming increasingly clear” that McCarthy did not work for Republicans. He demanded to learn the details of a purported deal McCarthy made with President Joe Biden to fund Ukraine.
McCarthy denied that any deal had been made with Biden. During a CBS interview on Sunday, the speaker also urged Gaetz to “bring it on” and said that the effort to remove him was “personal” for the Florida congressman.
“This is personal with Matt,” McCarthy said on Face the Nation. “Matt has voted against the most conservative ability to protect our border, to secure our border. He’s more interested in securing TV interviews than doing something. He wanted to push us into a shutdown, even threatening his own district, with all the military people there who would not be paid, only because he wants to take this motion.”
“So be it, bring it on,” he continued. “Let’s get over with it, and let’s start governing.”
Amid an extended and tense series of hearings to secure his speakership in January, McCarthy agreed to allow a single House member to file the motion to remove him at any time.
The motion to vacate requires only a simple majority vote to pass. For it to succeed, only five Republican lawmakers would need to support it due to the GOP’s slim 221-212 House majority, assuming all Democrats opted to remove McCarthy.
However, the likelihood of Gaetz’s motion succeeding is unclear. A number or Republicans have already indicated that they support McCarthy, while the possibility remains that some Democrats could also choose to vote against the measure.
Gaetz told CNN‘s Manu Raju earlier on Monday that he would continue to introduce new motions to vacate if his initial effort to oust McCarthy fails, indicating that he could make at least “14 or 15” attempts.
CNN reporter Melanie Zanona also said that Republicans were planning to “work with Dems to change the rules so that a single person can no longer call for such a vote” if Gaetz followed through with his threat.