Newt Gingrich on Tuesday urged House Republicans to vote down an internal rebellion against Speaker Kevin McCarthy and remove the instigator from their conference.
"Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) is an anti-Republican who has become actively destructive to the conservative movement," wrote Gingrich, a former Republican speaker, in a Washington Post op-ed. "Gaetz’s motion to remove McCarthy should be swiftly defeated, and then he should be expelled from the House Republican Conference."
Gingrich's essay came just ahead of an expected vote on Gaetz's "motion to vacate," which could remove McCarthy as speaker with the help of Democrats. If successful, it would be the first time in U.S. history that House lawmakers voted their leader out.
"I'm confident I'll hold on," McCarthy told reporters.
Gingrich first floated the idea of expelling Gaetz from the GOP's narrow House majority on Sunday in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. "Is Gaetz secretly an agent for the Democratic Party? No one else is doing as much to undermine, weaken, and cripple the House GOP," Gingrich opined in another post.
Other populist-leaning conservatives, including Rep. Chip Roy (R., Texas), the policy chair of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, and Fox News host Mark Levin have recently criticized Gaetz for refusing to support any stopgap measure to fund the government, thereby forcing McCarthy to pass a less conservative version with Democratic votes. It was McCarthy doing just that on Saturday that prompted Gaetz to move for his ouster.
Gaetz, who has harassed McCarthy for months, has denied that his beef with the speaker is personal. On ABC News on Sunday, Gaetz suggested he and his allies seek to force radical action to reduce federal spending and to purge the GOP of lawmakers whom he portrays as beholden to "the uniparty" and "the system."
"Gaetz obviously hates House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.)—and that’s fine," Gingrich wrote in the Post. "But Gaetz has gone beyond regular drama. He is destroying the House GOP’s ability to govern and draw a sharp contrast with the policy disasters of the Biden administration."
Gingrich said he found himself in rare agreement with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), a fellow former House speaker, when she said in an appearance on CNN on Sunday that Gaetz has "no sway in the House of Representatives, except to get on TV."
According to Gingrich, Gaetz is also violating a House Republican Conference rule that the motion to vacate "should only be available with the agreement of the Republican Conference so as to not allow Democrats to choose the Speaker."
"I served 20 years in the House, including four as speaker. On occasion, I fought against the GOP establishment. I led the fight against President George H.W. Bush’s 1990 tax increase after he had broken his word about 'no new taxes.' I felt bound to stay with my commitment to the American voters," Gingrich recalled. "Unlike Gaetz, though, when I rebelled, I represented the majority view of the caucus at the time."
Added Gingrich: "House Republicans have far more important things to do than entertain one member’s ego."
According to the House Republicans' rules, a two-thirds vote is needed to expel a GOP member from the conference.