Matt Gaetz votes for Donald Trump for House speaker

Matt Gaetz votes for Donald Trump for House speaker

A day after calling Donald Trump’s support for Kevin McCarthy to be speaker of the House “sad,” Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz of Florida voted for the former president and current White House candidate on the seventh and eighth ballots as lawmakers struggled to break a three-day deadlock.

McCarthy, a California Republican, had been stymied in his bid to win the gavel as some 20 far-right GOPers had voted for fellow members of the Freedom Caucus in an effort to wiggle concessions from the more moderate candidate.

The Constitution does not state that the speaker of the House must be a current lawmaker, and anyone in Congress can nominate a candidate for the parliamentary leadership position. However, a non-lawmaker has never been elevated to the position in the country’s history.

Gaetz, 40, is leading the effort to oust McCarthy, and the outspoken Trump supporter’s vote for the former president was at odds with the embattled 76-year-old ex-president’s efforts to back McCarthy, underscoring the party’s ongoing identify crisis.

Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, a Freedom Caucus member who is a supporter of both Trump and McCarthy’s speaker bid, was visibly amused by Gaetz’s vote on the seventh ballot Thursday afternoon. She was photographed smiling broadly, laughing and clapping as she sat next to the Florida man on the House floor.

Greene sitting next to Gaetz laughing
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene appeared amused by Rep. Matt Gaetz’s irreverent vote.
Former US President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, US, on Tuesday, Nov. 15,
Trump’s support for Kevin McCarthy had not influenced former loyalists in the right-wing Freedom Party.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Despite McCarthy’s reported willingness to give concessions to his conservative detractors, the lawmaker lost his seventh and eighth bid to lead the House as the historic dissent continued for a third day, precluding the 118th Congress from getting to work.

On the seventh ballot, the other 19 rebel lawmakers again cast their vote for Rep.-elect Byron Donalds of Florida, a little known sophomore legislator who was nominated by fellow Freedom Caucus member Chip Roy of Texas Wednesday.

The historic nomination drew applause from both sides of the aisle after Roy pointed out that it marked the first time two black men were being considered for the leadership role.

Footage of the dissident’s vote was retweeted by Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington in an apparent stamp of approval.

Rep.-elect Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat representing parts of Brooklyn and Queens, had continued to lead the balloting amid the mutiny despite his party’s minority status.

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