Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) does not have a lot of goodwill in his own conference after he led the internal rebellion against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) earlier this month.
And in interviews with Business Insider, Republican staffers and operatives paint a dismal picture of the Florida congressman, whom they say is much more interested in drawing attention to himself with stunts than in doing anything remotely productive.
"He doesn't know how to govern and is not interested in acting in good faith for his constituents or his conference," said Maura Gillespie, a House Republican aide who most recently worked for since-retired Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). "
Another former House GOP staffer echoed similar sentiments to Gillespie, although they remained anonymous so they could speak freely.
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"I don't think this guy's looking to be a policymaker," they said. "I think he's looking for a platform to monetize MAGA. And to put himself out there as an unencumbered warrior for their cause... Everyone has always viewed him as a showman, as someone who's there for political theater, as someone who has shown no interest in ever legislating."
Republican political strategist Doug Heye, meanwhile, said he struggled to even make sense of what Gaetz's motivations are.
"Maybe the guy just likes attention," he speculated. "Because here's the thing. If you say enough crazy stuff, and you wear gas masks on the House floor, you're gonna get a lot of attention."