Status: 03.10.2023, 07:54 a.m.
The dispute within the Republican faction escalates: The ultra-right Representative Gaetz calls for the dismissal of Kevin McCarthy.
Washington, D.C. – The ultra-right Representative Matt Gaetz wants to push Kevin McCarthy from the top of the congressional chamber, a corresponding motion was submitted by the ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump on Monday.
McCarthy immediately reacted to the news in the previously called Twitter online service X. "Bring it on" wrote the Californian - to german "Let's go" or "Go ahead".
Republican hardliner and ardent Trump supporter Matt Gaetz is calling for the removal of Kevin McCarthy, leader of the House of Representatives. © IMAGO/Branden Camp
McCarthy averted shutdown, drawing the ire of Trump hardliners
McCarthy had previously agreed with the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on a compromise to fund U.S. federal agencies until November 17, failing to push through the spending cuts demanded by right-wing hardliners. However, his position of power among Republican representatives has been shaky since his election at the beginning of the year.
The impeachment motion is the continuation and culmination of a conflict within the Republican caucus that has been smoldering since the opposition party took over the majority in the House of Representatives at the beginning of the year. McCarthy needed a record 15 rounds of voting to be elected chairman of the House of Representatives.
The reason was the resistance of Gaetz and other far-right Republicans, who did not want to support the politician from California. The group, made up of staunch Trump supporters, forced the 58-year-old to make painful concessions to end their blockade.
Impeachment motion: McCarthy is hostage to the right-wing hardliners of the Republicans
For example, McCarthy agreed to a rule according to which even a single member of parliament can submit a motion for his removal. This makes the "Speaker", as the chairman of the House of Representatives is called in the USA, particularly vulnerable – and hostage to the right-wing hardliners in his own ranks.
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Now Gaetz wants to use this regulation to knock McCarthy out of office. The background is the dispute over the shutdowns averted by Congress at the last minute over the weekend. McCarthy, with the help of President Joe Biden's Democrats, had passed a transitional budget to avert an impending budget freeze. He infuriated the 20 or so far-right Republicans who are pushing for massive spending cuts and have accepted the budget freeze with all its effects.
McCarthy accused of 'secret deal' with Biden
Gaetz, a Florida agitator known for polemical statements, accuses McCarthy of violating internal party commitments to cuts. The chairman of the House of Representatives even agreed on a "secret deal" with US President Joe Biden to decide on new Ukraine aid not included in the transitional budget. "We have to move forward with a new leadership that is trustworthy," the 41-year-old said on CNN. "The one thing they all have in common is that no one trusts McCarthy."
McCarthy, who was attacked in this way, reacted with defiant fearlessness. "I will survive," the Republican declared, as in the famous song by Gloria Gaynor. If Gaetz is angry that he has prevented a shutdown, "then let's fight this fight."
Conflict between Gaetz and McCarthy has been smoldering for some time
The enmity between the two men is not new. In January, Gaetz was one of those Republicans who wanted to prevent McCarthy's election as chairman of the House of Representatives. He described McCarthy as an opportunist without a backbone and part of the Washington political establishment: "If you want to dry up the swamp, you can't hire the biggest alligator to do it." In one ballot, Gaetz even voted for Trump, who had not even applied for the "Speaker" office.
In the months that followed, the two men clashed again and again. Gaetz accused McCarthy of not advancing decisively enough in the impeachment proceedings against Biden sought by right-wing hardliners. When Gaetz threatened a motion for dismissal in mid-September, McCarthy is said to have cursed to his opponents in a group meeting behind closed doors: "Then submit the damn motion."
Removal of McCarthy? Democrats could save him
That's exactly what Gaetz has done now. Ironically, given the narrow majority in the House of Representatives, it could be the Democrats who save McCarthy. If enough Republicans vote against the chairman, he would have to rely on votes from the Democrats to stay in office.
The Biden party has little sympathy for McCarthy, who made a significant contribution to the rehabilitation of the right-wing populist among the Republicans after the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, with a visit to Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. His dismissal, however, would have far-reaching consequences.
Impeachment would incapacitate the House of Representatives
The House of Representatives would be unable to act until further notice, at a time when the Democrats are deciding on new aid for Kiev and want to pass a permanent budget by mid-November after the interim solution in the budget dispute. In addition, the question would be which Republican would succeed McCarthy.
"As bad as McCarthy is as a speaker, it can always get worse," Democratic Rep. Adam Smith said Monday. "We have to take into account what's next."
Donald Trump, meanwhile, has to stand trial for financial fraud. Trump rejects all allegations and insulted the judges at the start of the trial. (AFP)