Matt Gaetz claims to have 'critical mass' needed to sabotage Kevin McCarthy's speakership
C-SPAN/screen grab

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) says he has a large enough "critical mass" of House Republicans to prevent Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from becoming Speaker in the new Congress.

During an interview with right-wing podcast host Steve Bannon on Tuesday, Gaetz said that at least five Republicans would vote against McCarthy on Jan. 3 to prevent him from taking the gavel.

"Five members which include myself, Andy Biggs, Bob Good, Matt Rosendale and now most recently Ralph Norman have all come out and said that our no vote on McCarthy is firm," he explained. "It was not just a no vote within the Republican conference. It is a no vote we intend to carry to the floor."

"Republicans are expected to hold a four-seat majority," the congressman said. "So five of us saying publicly we have no intention of voting for McCarthy; we are firm in our opposition to him, well, that ought to trigger a realization among Republicans that we need a consensus candidate."

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Gaetz complained that McCarthy was only willing to stand up for his principles "when the bullets aren't real, when the rounds aren't live."

"There are enough of us now, a critical mass standing up as a bulwark against his ascension to the speakership," he remarked.

Gaetz has previously floated Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democrat, to take the position of Speaker.

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