McCarthy Rages Over Gaetz-Trump Link

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy lashed out at his GOP colleague Matt Gaetz at a press conference and accused the Floridian Rep. of fabricating a relationship with Donald Trump. McCarthy said Gaetz and Trump are not close, but Mr. Gaetz likes to “make out” that they are. “Gaetz probably makes a lot out. He probably lies about who he sleeps with, too,” Mr. McCarthy added in a stinging reference to a House Ethics Committee investigation into whether Gaetz had intimate relations with a minor.

Last year, Mr. Gaetz announced that the case against him was closed, and he would not be charged. The probe into the Floridian’s behavior had lasted several years, and his attorney described this as a very “difficult experience.” Prosecutors said that a conviction would be difficult to secure as they could not show that Gaetz knew the 17-year-old he was alleged to have had a sexual relationship with was underage.

Mr. Gaetz clashed with Kevin McCarthy when he initiated the vote that would lead to McCarthy’s removal from his role as Speaker. The ousting came after McCarthy negotiated legislation aimed at preventing a government shutdown and did so with the support of Democrats, prompting some GOP lawmakers to accuse him of weakness. He was the first House Speaker ever removed from office in this way. Mr. McCarthy later resigned from Congress.

Since leaving Capitol Hill, McCarthy has been campaigning against those who voted to oust him from the Speaker’s chair, including Nancy Mace of South Carolina and Tennessee’s Tim Burchett. Speaking about Rep. Mace at the press conference, McCarthy said she “flips and flops” based on what she sees on TV and needs to “straighten out her life.” He added, “I hope Nancy gets the help she needs, I really do.”

When asked whether he would back primary opponents of the Reps. who voted against him, he implied that he would, and said he never agreed to stay out of politics altogether.