House Republicans Looking To Oust Matt Gaetz After Love Affair Sours

There was a brief time in the not-so-distant past when Matt Gaetz was the darling of House Republicans. A right-fighter

Matt Gaetz
United States Representative Matt Gaetz (Republican of Florida) speaks at a news conference on ?FBI whistleblower testimony? at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., Thursday, May 18, 2023. Credit: Julia Nikhinson / CNP. Photo credit: Julia Nikhinson - CNP / MEGA

There was a brief time in the not-so-distant past when Matt Gaetz was the darling of House Republicans. A right-fighter who’s quick to step up to a scuffle, Gaetz was setting himself up to be the new face of the GOP.

As a hardline MAGA supporter, Gaetz seems to have the rubber stamp of former President Donald Trump. And he is known to associate with controversial figures like Marjorie Taylor Greene and other GOP mavericks. But Gaetz may have finally gone too far. Things between the youthful Republican and his party have hit a rocky juncture. And Republican leadership appears to be poised to oust the now-controversial figure. Here’s why Gaetz may be getting the boot.

Accusations Against Gaetz Have Been Serious

Matt Gaetz

Matt Gaetz may be the only reason that Speaker Kevin McCarthy holds his leadership role. In an 11th-hour twist, Gaetz changed his “no” vote against McCarthy’s elevation to speaker to “present.” This gave McCarthy enough votes to secure the seat, and the rest has been history. But the tenuous alliance between McCarthy and the MAGA darling seems to have ground to a screeching halt.

In 2021, a Florida tax collector by the name of Joel Greenberg pled guilty to six serious charges, including sex trafficking of a minor, identity theft, stalking, wire fraud, and conspiracy to bribe a public official. As part of a plea deal, Greenberg cooperated with federal prosecutors. And ultimately received just 11 years in prison as a sentence. During his cooperative testimony, Greenberg seemed to point the finger at an associate: Matt Gaetz. Allegations against the Republican included that he had sex with a minor, transported the alleged victim across state lines to engage in prostitution, and/or that he obstructed justice to hide his involvement.

Gaetz denied the accusations. And in early 2023, the Department of Justice announced that its investigation into Gaetz’s involvement in these actions was being dropped. Gaetz was not charged with any crimes as a result of the multi-year probe. Those in the know cited credibility issues with two witnesses, as well as a lack of direct evidence linking Gaetz to the alleged crimes.

House Republicans Look To Kick Out Matt Gaetz After Alliance Goes South

But those alleged crimes may be back to haunt Matt Gaetz another day. An unnamed House Republican says that the GOP leadership in the chamber is looking to “oust” Gaetz now. And they may lean on the House Ethics Committee’s findings of Gaetz’s actions to do so.

The escalation in the war with Gaetz came after the younger Republican suggested on Fox News that he was hoping to remove McCarthy from his leadership position. MAGA hardliners are furious with McCarthy for offering a watered-down stopgap bill to keep the government open. It passed late Saturday with all but one House Democrat supporting McCarthy’s bill. 90 Republicans voted against their own party’s bill. The rift between moderate Republicans and MAGA loyalists has exploded into a void, and the two factions of the party appear to be turning on each other.

Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich says that GOP members in the House are preparing to launch an offensive against Gaetz. This could potentially see him unseated from his place on the Armed Forces and Judiciary Committees. And the consequences could be even farther-reaching than that. It all boils down to what the upcoming Ethics Committee report says about Gaetz and his alleged involvement with Greenberg’s crimes.

An anonymous House Republican told Heinrich,  “No one can stand him at this point.” They called Gaetz “a smart guy without morals.” Capitalizing on his position as a maverick and rabble-rouser, Gaetz took to X to share an edited version of a John Wick poster with dozens of guns pointed at his head. Matt Gaetz’s fate will become clearer once the Ethics Committee presents its findings.