GOP Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida confirmed a written deal that had “multiple forms” was made between Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy of California and GOP holdouts during the speakership vote earlier in the month.
In a telling exchange with Ari Melber, MSNBC host, Gaetz credited the appointment of Republican holdouts to critical committees to the negotiation tactics against McCarthy and maintained he had “no objection” to releasing the specifics publicly of the concessions Republican hard-liners gained from McCarthy.
“There was specifically a side-by-side sheet where we made offers to McCarthy. There were some offers he accepted, some he modified, some he rejected, just like you’d see in any negotiation,” explained Gaetz to Melber. “I can tell you that Thomas Massie, Chip Roy, and Ralph Norman being on the Rules Committee would not have happened but for this negotiation.”
Earlier in the month, 20 House GOP members voted against McCarthy for speaker. Gaetz was one of the most prominent members. McCarthy went through 15 rounds of voting before he secured the speaker’s gavel, which followed Gaetz opting to vote ‘present’ to lower the threshold for him. The numerous rounds of voting marked the first time since at least 1859 a speaker needed that many votes to win the speakership.
Before the speakership vote, Rep. Gaetz was steadfast in believing that McCarthy wouldn’t become a speaker because he lacked the votes. Nevertheless, McCarthy sought to win over the GOP holdouts during deliberations. The vote holdouts were mainly comprised of members from the House Freedom Caucus.
Some concessions have yet to be made public
While a few of McCarthy’s concessions are known publicly, including his agreement to put forward a “motion to vacate” the speaker position to one representative, others haven’t been revealed to the public.
During the interview, Melber noted a report outlining the three-page document that McCarthy had negotiated with members of the House Freedom Caucus.
While some members, including GOP Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina, who backed McCarthy throughout the struggle, have publicly complained about the lack of transparency in the negotiations.
Gaetz, when pressed, stated he has “no objection” to releasing any specifics related to the agreements made with McCarthy to the public. However, he noted he was “unsure” if he still had a copy of the deal in his possession, preventing him from disclosing it himself.
“I have no objection. It was largely released to the conference and country when you saw the appointments to the committees. When you see which members populate, you’re seeing — when you see floor votes, you see that agreement,” added Gaetz. “I don’t know that I still have a copy because we were able to resolve a lot of these things.”