A hard right lawmaker in the United States has launched a bid to remove House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the most serious showdown yet within the Republican party as it battles to contain firebrand supporters of ex-president Donald Trump.
Matt Gaetz, a representative from Florida and Trump loyalist, entered a resolution from the House floor late on Monday setting in motion a snap vote that is likely to take place in the coming days.
“I have enough Republicans where at this point next week, one of two things will happen: Kevin McCarthy won’t be the speaker of the House or he’ll be the speaker of the House working at the pleasure of the Democrats,” Gaetz told reporters afterwards outside the Capitol.
McCarthy responded minutes later on social media: “Bring it on.”
Gaetz, who has clashed with McCarthy for months, soon retorted in a post: “Just did.”
The lawmaker’s move comes after the speaker brokered a last-minute deal with the Democrats to ensure the passage of a temporary spending bill to avert a government shutdown despite opposition from a hardcore group on the Republican right.
A faction of about 20 Republicans, including Gaetz, had forced McCarthy’s hand by repeatedly blocking other legislation.
Republicans control the chamber by a narrow 221-212 majority.
Some who have aligned with Gaetz on spending cuts or other priorities have said they will not back him in the effort to remove the speaker.
“It’s a really bad idea,” said Kentucky representative Thomas Massie.
But others are more keen.
Longtime McCarthy critic Bob Good, from Virginia, said the weekend deal with the Democrats to keep the government running without including any of the conservatives’ political priorities was just another reason for him to vote for the speaker’s removal.
“We got nothing,” he said on Monday. (AlJazeera)