CNN anchor Jake Tapper on Sunday accused Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) of seeking clicks and press attention with his dramatic moves leading up to the government shutdown.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Tapper pushed Gaetz on his motivation to deny a stopgap measure and on some of his demands that are clearly partisan in nature and would be doomed to fail. He pointed specifically to efforts to strip funding for the salary of special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating former President Trump’s actions near the end of his term in office.
“That to me is not the language of somebody who understands the balance of power in the House and the Senate and how all legislation actually functions,” Tapper said. “That to me is the language of somebody who is looking for clicks and likes and Fox hits, not somebody who actually is trying to reduce the debt.”
Gaetz fought back and said he was pushing for more conservative measures as a negotiating tactic, but he said he understands that legislating ultimately requires negotiation, and that negotiations should take place for each appropriations bill, not all together.
“I believe the best way to advance the interests of the American people is for the House to take the most conservative position and then engage that negotiation. Where that negotiation has failed all Americans of all stripes is when it centers around what ornament you’re going to hang on a continuing resolution or an omnibus bill,” Gaetz said Sunday.
“It’s really important you get this point: I’m okay with bipartisan negotiation. I just want it to be on single-subject spending bills, not on a global deal that funds the whole government or doesn’t,” he later added.
Congress passed a bipartisan stopgap continuing resolution Saturday, just hours before a shutdown was set to take effect. Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) ended up relying on Democratic votes, and Gaetz said Sunday that he would introduce a motion to vacate, which could oust McCarthy from his position.
Gaetz said that while the appropriations bills were working their way through the standard process, it was happening “at a snail’s pace, until I held a political gun to McCarthy’s head and forced the Congress to stay until midnight to take these votes and move these bills.”