McCarthy Denial Follows Gaetz Accusation

Two Republicans exhibit tension over online campaign
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2023 5:15 PM CDT
McCarthy Denial Follows Gaetz Accusation
Following a closed-door Republican strategy session, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy talks to reporters Wednesday at the Capitol in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Their chats don't seem warm lately, but House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Matt Gaetz had what diplomats would call an especially frank exchange of views at the Capitol on Thursday. It began with an accusation by Gaetz about a social media campaign critical of him and a denial by McCarthy, the Hill reports. "I asked McCarthy a direct question: Were you out there paying for people to try to create a false negative sentiment about me online?" Gaetz said later. "And his non sequitur retort was that he was giving out two and a half million dollars to other Republicans at breakfast. And I asked him how much of that money he'd gotten from FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried."

The conversation took place out of public earshot, but other House Republicans in the meeting described it as quite tense; Gaetz has been threatening to move to oust McCarthy, per Axios. The posts were from someone claiming to be acting on behalf of the speaker and advocated working against Gaetz and a government shutdown. Gaetz shared the post, adding, "Speaker McCarthy is pathetic." McCarthy had an outside lawyer send a cease-and-desist to try to stop the campaign, per the Hill. Gaetz said that when he asked McCarthy about the issue, the speaker "mumbled and said that he didn't think enough of me to do that." (Read more House Republicans stories.)

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