Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) confirmed on Thursday that the decision to remove Rep. Ilham Omar (D-MN) from a committee was "tit-for-tat" retribution after two Republicans were punished in an earlier Congress.
Following his vote to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Gaetz told viewers of his Firebrand podcast that it had not been a good feeling.
"I can't say it was the best feeling in the world to look at speech as some sort of threshold for someone's participation in the political process," the lawmaker explained. "Frankly, if Ilhan Omar hadn't voted against Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ), I might have viewed things differently."
"Maybe the only way we get passed this and stop this tit-for-tat is to once and for all end it," he added. "So I voted with the Speaker. I believed Speaker [Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)] deserved deference on this matter."
Gaetz worried that the next Congress could also remove members from committees over their remarks.
"I'm going to be the one they come for," he said. "I'm going to say something edgy or not aligned with the dogma of the day in the Armed Services Committee or the Judiciary Committee, and they'll say, 'Oh, Gaetz is promoting gun violence because he believes in the Second Amendment.'"
For his part, McCarthy has said that Omar's removal from the committee was not retribution or "tit-for-tat" politics.
Watch the video below from The Firebrand Podcast.