Last Updated on January 1, 2023

Freedom Caucus Rep. Matt Gaetz came out swinging against establishment leader Kevin McCarthy in a War Room interview with Steve Bannon, renewing his vow to oppose McCarthy’s speakership campaign and calling his political career a “puppet show” that’s done nothing but serve his own interests and ambitions.

Kevin McCarthy failed to make good on his promise of a “red wave” election in 2022, with the GOP only winning a razor-thin majority of seats, despite blowing Democrats out in the popular vote nationwide. This is thanks to McCarthy’s strategic targeting of conservative House candidates with FTX money and other deep state funds, in order to protect establishment incumbents in both parties.

“That’s not winning,” Gaetz said. “That’s fumbling the ball at the goal line and somehow ending up well below projections.”

While supporters of McCarthy’s speakership campaign, which appears doomed to fail on January 3rd, claim he’s “moved to the right,” Gaetz told Steve Bannon that McCarthy’s supposed embrace of MAGA policy is nothing more than a “puppet show.”

“It’s not real,” said Gaetz. “It’s fiction.”

“If you look at the entire body of work of Kevin McCarthy, it is a trajectory of slow surrender,” Gaetz added, blasting McCarthy’s failures to stand up to Democrats year after year, Congress after Congress.

“If McCarthy got the gavel, and I don’t think he will, the only thing he would be focused on would be growing the majority so he didn’t have to deal with firebrands like me and he would do anything, violate any commitment, in service of that objective, his entire career proves it,” said Rep. Gaetz.

Adding that a “phoenix” will “rise from the ashes” of McCarthy’s doomed speakership campaign to lead an America First Congress, that will affect meaningful change and send radical Democrats on the run.

Under a McCarthy speakership, Gaetz detailed, the “slow surrender” of America would continue.

“On none of the problems we’ve talked about could we anticipate any solutions from Kevin McCarthy,” said Rep. Gaetz.

“What Kevin’s going to do, is he’s going to, in theory, pass a bunch of messaging bills that will die in the Senate.”

“This is about leverage. Utilizing points of leverage throughout the next two years to deliver tangible wins for our people and to highlight the corrupt, criminal, illegitimate features of this administration currently in power,” said Rep. Gaetz.

“That’s the game. And Kevin McCarthy doesn’t have that club in the bag.”

“He is not someone who has ever supported rigorous oversight in the past. In fact, when [McCarthy ally Paul] Ryan was Speaker and Kevin McCarthy was the Majority Leader, he never piped up when we were seeking subpoenas to try to stop the FBI and the Deep State from de-stabilizing the presidency and the country.”

“I’ve seen enough from this guy,” Gaetz said.

The Florida conservative went on to detail the ongoing negotiations between McCarthy and Freedom Caucus legislators, who are demanding a return of the crucial motion to vacate the chair. The motion, which empowers members of Congress to vote a bad Speaker out, was gutted by the left-wing Pelosi House rules that McCarthy intends to keep.

Rep. Gaetz said that the motion to vacate is critical because McCarthy “isn’t a leader” and can’t be trusted.

“He has offered everything he has ever thought to offer and everything we have ever thought to ask for and it still isn’t enough because the man isn’t a leader.”

“There’s a reason why the motion to vacate matters…it is a necessary feature if you don’t trust someone,” Gaetz said.

“We know that with Kevin McCarthy, the lies always change.”

His own mentor gave an interview […] and said…’with Kevin, he will always lie, the lie will always change, and the lie is always in service of one thing; his ambition.’”

“I don’t really view Kevin as [being] to the right or to the left,” Gaetz added. “He’s a political amoeba, willing to float anywhere and take any shape or form, so long as it fits that particular moment.”

Related: Rep-elect Luna Opposes McCarthy, Demands Scrapping of Pelosi Rules, Return of Motion to Vacate

Watch the War Room segment with Rep. Matt Gaetz below:

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