Gaetz Swings at 'Squatter' in Speaker's Office

He's referring to Kevin McCarthy in letter sent to Architect of the Capitol
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2023 10:15 AM CST
Gaetz Accuses McCarthy of Squatting in Speaker's Office
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., far left, listens as Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., far right, nominates Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, for speaker of the House on the opening day of the 118th Congress at the US Capitol on Tuesday in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The 118th Congress is still without a House speaker, a point Rep. Matt Gaetz emphasized Tuesday in his letter to the Architect of the Capitol to complain about the current state of the House speaker's office—which is currently occupied by Rep. Kevin McCarthy. Three consecutive votes failed to get McCarthy to the 218 votes needed to secure the position; the House convenes at 12pm ET Wednesday, per the Washington Post, at which time a fourth vote will occur.

In the meantime, Gaetz asked, "What is the basis in law, House rule, or precedent to allow someone who has placed second [behind Democrat Hakeem Jeffries] in three successive speaker elections to occupy the Speaker of the House Office? How long will he remain there before he is considered a squatter?" The letter finished, "Please write back promptly as it seems Mr. McCarthy can no longer be considered Speaker-Designate following today’s balloting." Politico reports McCarthy had moved into the office as of Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Intercept is reporting on a Tuesday conversation between Gaetz and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in which Gaetz reportedly told the Democrat that McCarthy was indicating he'd be able to secure the speakership by getting enough Democrats to change their vote to "present"; doing so would lower the number of votes needed to obtain a majority. Ocasio-Cortez told the Intercept she "fact-checked [with Democratic party leaders] and said absolutely not." (Read more Kevin McCarthy stories.)

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