Kevin McCarthy says Matt Gaetz has 'personal' issues as he fires back at bid to ... trends now
Kevin McCarthy claimed Rep. Matt Gaetz has 'personal' issues after the Florida Republican moved to oust him, and added that he doesn't need the help of Democrats to stay in the speaker's office as the House prepares to vote on his fate Tuesday afternoon.
'Matt Gaetz had planned to do this from the very beginning,' McCarthy told CNBC's 'Squawk Box.' 'He has personal things in his life that he has challenges with. That's fine.'
McCarthy and some of his allies have claimed Gaetz's animosity toward him is from the Florida Republican's belief that the speaker played a role in an Ethics Committee investigation into allegations about sexual misconduct on Gaetz's part. McCarthy has said repeatedly he doesn't get involved in ethics complaints.
Gaetz on Monday evening presented a 'motion to vacate,' a legislative maneuver that would result in the ousting of the speaker if a majority of the House approves it. The vote could happen around 1:30pm ET on Tuesday afternoon.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Rep. Matt Gaetz has 'personal issues' and noted he expected to survive the challenge to his speakership
But McCarthy thinks he'll survive the challenge.
'I'm an optimist. I put money on myself,' he said.
He indicated Gaetz's move is persona.
The rules of the House allow for any single lawmaker — Democrat or Republican — to make a 'motion to vacate the chair,' essentially an attempt to oust the speaker from that leadership post through a privileged resolution.
Gaetz filed it on Monday evening and the House has two legislative days to vote on it.
Next steps: McCarthy allies will likely seek to block it by offering a 'motion to table'- or set aside - the resolution.
That is where Democrats can help save McCarthy, if they support the a move to table the matter.
Democrats don't have to vote yes to help McCarthy. They could simply vote present, or not show up at all, and that would lower the threshold McCarthy needs to block the motion.
If McCarthy's allies fail to table the motion, the House would then move to a vote on removing McCarthy.
Again, Democrats could save him by voting in his support or just by voting present or being absent.
If Gaetz's motion succeeds, the speakership would be vacated and the House would then need to hold a new election.
A speaker candidate would need to win a majority of votes from those lawmakers present and voting. In January it took McCarthy 15 rounds of votes to secure the speakership.
'He's been blaming me for some for an ethics complaint against him that happened in the last Congress,' McCarthy noted.
'I have nothing to do with he wants me to try to wipe that away. I'm not going to do that. That's illegal. And you know what, if some way I lose my job because I uphold the law because I uphold the continuity of government. So be it.'
The crucial votes will likely come down to Democrats, meaning Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries and his caucus have to make a tough choice: save McCarthy and stay with the speaker they know or vote for his ouster and see who winds up with the votes from Republicans to be in the speaker's chair.
Jeffries and McCarthy spoke on Monday night.
McCarthy told CNBC the two men have a good relationship but added: 'I'm not asking for any special deal or anything else.'