Matt Gaetz admits Kevin McCarthy might win House speaker vote, but with a major caveat

Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., conceded Thursday that Rep.-elect Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., could eventually be elected speaker of the House of Representatives, but argued he would be a speaker with a ‘straight jacket.’

Speaking with Fox News Digital ahead of the House reconvening for a third day to try and elect a speaker, Gaetz said McCarthy offered ‘everything’ his critics asked for in order to win over their votes, but that he doubted it would be enough to get the long-time Republican leader across the finish line.

‘There are only two outcomes here: Either Kevin McCarthy withdraws from the speaker’s race, or he has to wake up every morning and put on the world’s best constructive straight jacket before doing the prayer and the pledge at the beginning of House session,’ Gaetz said, adding that several of his colleagues were working to on ‘how to construct that straight jacket.’

‘Kevin McCarthy has offered everything he can think to offer and everything we can think to ask for due to his current state of desperation, and I can’t tell you whether or not that will be enough to get him there. I doubt it will,’ he said.

Gaetz didn’t say why he was still choosing not to support McCarthy despite the latter offering concessions to critics.

McCarthy has failed to gain the necessary majority of votes to be elected speaker in six votes over two days. McCarthy’s support slipped from 203 votes on the first ballot to 201 votes in Wednesday’s final votes, with 20 members of the GOP voting for Rep.-elect Byron Donalds, R-Fla. 

Ahead of a meeting with Republicans before Thursday’s vote, McCarthy was asked if he expects the vote tally to be the same today. He said ‘yeah pretty much.’

McCarthy added that ‘Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. I wouldn’t read anything into the votes today.’

When asked what he thought would happen if McCarthy refuses to remove his name from consideration and is unable to reach a majority of votes, Gaetz simply referenced a quote from former President Donald Trump.

‘In the words of America’s greatest president, ‘We’ll see,” he said.

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