Former House speaker Newt Gingrich said on Tuesday that the eight Republican representatives who sided with Democrats to end Kevin McCarthy's speakership are "traitors" who "should all be driven out of public life."
Those anti-McCarthy members of Congress "decided they were so morally superior, so intellectually pure, so patriotically better, that they would side with the Democrats—and that's what they did—in order to defeat the entire Republican House caucus," Gingrich thundered to Fox News host Sean Hannity. The former speaker noted that 96 percent of the Republican caucus voted for McCarthy, while only 4 percent voted against him.
"From my position as a longtime Republican activist, they're traitors," Gingrich went on. "All eight of them should in fact be primaried. They should all be driven out of public life. What they did was to go to the other team to cause total chaos."
"It's an astonishingly destructive behavior by a handful of egocentric people who think they're superior to 96 percent of the conference," Gingrich concluded.
Gingrich, who in 1994 led Republicans to a takeover of the House for the first time in nearly four decades, has not been shy in his criticism of the eight Republican renegades. On the day of the no-confidence vote, Gingrich in a Washington Post op-ed said the group's leader, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.), is "an anti-Republican who has become actively destructive to the conservative movement."
Gaetz "should be expelled from the House Republican Conference," Gingrich said in the op-ed.
Many other Republicans agree. Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas) and Dusty Johnson (R., S.D.) have similarly blasted Gaetz's efforts, with Johnson saying that Gaetz organized a "coup" alongside "some of the most liberal voices on the Democratic side."
Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R., N.D.), meanwhile, said "he expects a resolution to expel Gaetz from the GOP conference," CNN reporter Melanie Zanona wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
McCarthy, who has said he will not run again for speaker, hinted Tuesday that he may support primary challenges against the eight mutineers.
"When I was running for speaker, I said I couldn't get involved in primaries," McCarthy told reporters at a press conference. "But I told the [Republican] conference, I'm a free agent now, aren't I? I think I'm pretty good at electing people."