Rep. Matt Gaetz accused House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of lying after the Republican leader charged that the House Freedom Caucus member is âworking withâ Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat, to undermine him.
Gaetz (R-Fla.), who refused to back McCarthyâs House speakership bid in January, has recently threatened to oust the California Republican from his top position in the lower chamber over his support for a stopgap measure to fund the government and for his measured approach to a potential impeachment of President Biden.
âMatt is working with Eric Swalwell, but let me be very clear,â McCarthy told CNN, when asked about the intraparty bickering. âMatt is upset about an ethics complaint. I donât care what they threaten against me. Iâm not gonna interject into an independent committee like ethics, and Iâm not going to put Swalwell back on the Intel committee. So, they can do whatever they want.â
Gaetz is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee over numerous allegations of impropriety, including sexual misconduct, illicit drug use, sharing inappropriate images on the House floor, misusing state identification records, inappropriately using campaign funds, bribery, and receiving impermissible gifts.
In May, the ethics panel ended a two-year-long investigation into Swalwell over his ties to suspected Chinese spy Christine Fang by taking no action against the California Democrat.
However, the allegations of Swalwellâs relationship with Fang cost him his spot on the House Intelligence Committee earlier this year, with McCarthy accusing the lawmaker of undermining the panelâs ânational security and oversight missions â ultimately leaving our nation less safe.â
McCarthyâs suspicion of collusion between Gaetz and Swalwell may be in reference to a weekend tweet by the Florida lawmaker, which read, âHi, Eric. If I make a motion to remove Kevin, how may [sic] democrat votes can I count on? Asking for a friendâ¦.â
Gaetz vehemently denied on Wednesday that the ethics investigation has anything to do with his threats to put forward a motion to vacate in Congress.
âI am the most investigated man in the entire Congress, and right there you saw Kevin McCarthy lying like a dead dog because I have never asked him to interfere in any ethics matter,â Gaetz said in an interview with MSNBC, adding that the speakerâs comments are an âabject lie from a sad and pathetic man who lies to hold onto power.â
McCarthy on Tuesday announced that the House would open an impeachment inquiry into Biden, 80, over his alleged involvement in his son Hunter Bidenâs foreign business deals.
Gaetz criticized the probe, calling it a “baby step” that he says only came after “weeks of pressure from conservatives.”