Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on Tuesday forecast upcoming moves to force House votes on impeachment, while sending a warning shot to Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
The firebrand Republican’s remarks come as McCarthy has met resistance from moderate House Republicans to potentially opening an impeachment inquiry into President Biden over issues related to his family’s foreign business dealings when he was vice president.
“I worked very hard in January to develop a toolkit for House Republicans to use in a productive and positive way. I don’t believe we’ve used those tools as effectively as we should have,” Gaetz told conservative radio host Todd Starnes, alluding to the negotiations that took place during the historic 15-ballot election to make McCarthy Speaker.
Gaetz said that when the House returns to Washington next week, Republicans have to “seize the initiative.”
“That means forcing votes on impeachment. And if Speaker McCarthy stands in our way, he may not have the job long,” Gaetz said.
During McCarthy’s election saga in January, he agreed to lower the threshold for a motion to vacate the chair — a move to force a vote on recalling the Speaker — from five members to one.
If Gaetz makes a move to force a vote on impeachment, he would not be the first House Republican to do so. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) in June forced a vote on her resolution to impeach Biden over his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The House voted to re-refer her impeachment articles to committees in a party-line vote.
Ian Sams, White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations, said in a statement that Gaetz’s comments show that the push to impeach Biden is politically motivated.
“On the heels of openly admitting the goal of impeachment isn’t to get to the truth but instead to damage the President politically, Matt Gaetz is yet again confirming that House Republicans’ evidence-free impeachment stunt is being driven by the demands of the most extreme, far-right members of Congress. Last week, Marjorie Taylor Greene threatened to shut down the government if she didn’t get an impeachment vote, and now Gaetz is threatening to potentially oust Speaker McCarthy if he doesn’t give them what they want,” Sams said.
“If Speaker McCarthy opens an impeachment inquiry simply to throw red meat to the right wing, it will yet again prove this is nothing more than a costly, illegitimate, politically-motivated exercise not rooted in reality.”
— Updated at 9:00 p.m.