A campaign adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence took a potshot at Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) for initiating the removal of Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Tuesday via Media Ite.
After McCarthy used a Democratic vote to prevent the government’s shutdown last weekend, Gaetz moved for his seat to be vacated. According to the Florida Republican, McCarthy breached an agreement he’d made back in January that would allow him to be Speaker. On Tuesday, only eight Republicans supported McCarthy’s removal, but with all the Democrats supporting him, it was sufficient.
The final tally was 216 to 210 in favor of removal.
Short, who served as Pence’s chief-of-staff when he was vice president, appeared on Wednesday’s installment of The Lead, where Jake Tapper asked about the unusual dynamic.
“You know a lot of people on the Hill,” the host noted. “Is this how it should work – that one person, Matt Gaetz, should be able to bring a motion to vacate and eight Republicans should be able to, you know, unite with the minority party and topple the speaker?”
“No, certainly not,” Short replied. “And I think you saw when Pelosi was speaker, she certainly didn’t allow that one motion to vacate within her conference. And I think whoever succeeds Kevin will make sure that that rule is changed. I don’t think that’s the way it is. But to be fair, it was negotiated by Kevin when he became speaker back in January. It was the condition to get some of the members to support him. But I don’t think it’s a healthy process, Jake.”
Later in the interview, Short took aim at Gaetz.
“But the people who were masquerading as fiscal conservatives really, really aren’t, Jake,” Short added. “I mean, Matt Gaetz, to say he came as a fiscal crusader, it’s more likely he came here for the teenage interns on Capitol Hill, to be honest. Look, he’s voted for continuing resolutions. He’s voted for omnibus bills. He voted for trillions of dollars in Covid spending. Even this year, he put forward an earmark, and yet he’s presented himself as, ‘I’m doing to do this for the fiscal benefit of the country.’ That’s not honest. The guy just has a distaste for Kevin and used the rules to dethrone him.”
Gaetz was the subject of a Department of Justice investigation examining whether the congressman had sexual relations with a minor. That probe concluded without any charges being filed.