(USNewsMag.com) – Former House Speaker and California Rep. Kevin McCarthy took a shot at Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who led the charge to remove him from the position of House Speaker.
McCarthy told reporters on December 14 that Gaetz’s actions, which led to McCarthy’s removal as speaker, were “psychotic.” He added that the FBI studies the minds of people like Gaetz.
Gaetz responded to McCarthy’s comments by saying, “Thoughts and prayers for the former congressman.” He added that his “premature departure” from Congress, which reduces the Republican majority in the House, “shows it was only ever about personal power to him.”
McCarthy’s comments to reporters followed his farewell speech on Dec. 14, which was his final week in Congress because the House is in recess for Christmas and New Year’s break. McCarthy’s last day in office is Dec. 31, ending his 17-year tenure. He called his leaving “bittersweet,” adding, “It’s not the timing I wanted to leave.”
Tensions between McCarthy and Gaetz have grown since Gaetz filed a motion to vacate in October, which resulted in McCarthy’s removal as House speaker. McCarthy also took a shot at Gaetz during the process of selecting a new House speaker.
This is not the first time since October that McCarthy has commented about Gaetz to reporters. When Politico asked McCarthy about the House Republicans from Florida, he stated that Gaetz belongs “in jail.” The comments seemed to be a reference to a House Ethics Committee investigation into Gaetz and allegations that he misused funding and made allegations of sexual misconduct.
Gaetz responded to McCarthy’s comments by stating that those were “tough words” from someone “who sucker punches people in the back.” The comments were a reference to allegations that McCarthy assaulted Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett with an elbow to the back. He added that he only committed assault “against Kevin’s fragile ego.”
Gaetz and Burchett were two of the eight House Republicans who voted along with all the House Democrats to remove McCarthy as speaker.
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