Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) dug into the eight Republicans who voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), claiming the lawmakers “unleashed furies” in the GOP conference.
“Well right now, [the House] can’t govern, and I think that the eight people who betrayed the conference and joined the Democrats to defeat the 96 percent of the conference unleashed furies that I don’t think they’d even dreamed of, because it gave every person the right to be equally destructive and equally angry,” Gingrich, also a Fox News contributor, told “Fox News Sunday” anchor Shannon Bream.
Those eight Republicans included Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), who led the motion to oust McCarthy, along with Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Ken Buck (Colo.), Tim Burchett (Tenn.), Eli Crane (Ariz.), Bob Good (Va.), Nancy Mace (S.C.) and Matt Rosendale (Mont.).
Calling the House’s situation a “mess,” Gingrich argued the House GOP should’ve stayed in conference last week after voting to no longer back Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) as the party’s Speaker designate.
“When they get back here, they should stay. [They] should go into a conference, not come out,” Gingrich said. “Bring food in and stay there. Again, very simple test — can you get the 217 votes? They shouldn’t bring anybody out until they have 217. And second, that 217 has to be committed not just to elect a Speaker, but to stick together for the next five or six months.”
“[House Republicans] tried the other technique, which is to find a personality, have them get a majority of the conference, walk onto the floor of the House and get beat,” Gingrich continued.
The former Republican Speaker noted there is a “very real danger” the House could elect someone and in a few weeks, “you’re going to have a group of people blow up and decide to go back into the same mess.”
Shortly after McCarthy’s ouster, Gingrich called on House Republicans to expel Gaetz and defeat the motion to oust McCarthy, calling the Florida Republican an “anti-Republican” who engaged in “childish behavior.”
McCarthy’s historic ousting also sparked calls from some Republicans to change or get rid of the rule that removed McCarthy for the top spot.
As part of the dramatic, 15-ballot election that handed McCarthy the gavel in January, the former Speaker agreed to lower the threshold to force a vote on a motion to vacate from five to one — which allowed Gaetz to single-handedly call for the vote.
Republicans now are looking to ensure this can’t happen again, though a resolution of this nature would likely not be possible to vote on until the House elects a new Speaker and returns to its normal functions.
The House has been in a state of paralysis since McCarthy’s ousting nearly three weeks ago. In the days that followed, several Republicans looking to take the Speaker’s gavel were met with internal conflict within the GOP conference preventing some candidates from garnering the 217 votes necessary for the Speakership.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (La.) initially clinched the GOP’s support and beat Jordan, but he dropped out a day later when it became apparent he would not reach the 217 votes.
Jordan put his name back in the ring and went on to secure the nomination against Rep. Austin Scott (Ga.). Jordan failed to reach 217 votes on three ballots last week, actually losing more GOP support with each round.
Following the third vote Friday, the House GOP voted by secret ballot to no longer back Jordan, sending the lower chamber back to square one.
Several Republicans have already thrown their name in for a Speaker’s bid, with a candidate forum expected to take place Monday at 6:30 p.m. The House will move to an internal nomination election Tuesday at 9 a.m.