Florida Representative Matt Gaetz is expressing concern over the potential jeopardy facing the slim Republican majority in the House of Representatives following the expulsion of George Santos, a disgraced former congressman. Gaetz, a controversial figure on the right-wing, is apprehensive that the recent departure of Santos could be a harbinger of more exits among GOP lawmakers in the lower chamber of Congress.
During an appearance on The Charlie Kirk Show, Gaetz, who was instrumental in the removal of former speaker Kevin McCarthy in October, voiced his worries about the GOP’s self-inflicted setbacks hindering their effectiveness. He criticized the expulsion of Santos as “tactically stupid” considering the delicate nature of the narrow majority in the House.
Gaetz also highlighted other potential departures within the Republican ranks, mentioning Congressman Bill Johnson’s transition to a college university presidency that could further diminish their numbers. Additionally, Gaetz expressed doubts about Kevin McCarthy’s long-term commitment to staying in Congress, citing indications that McCarthy might be considering an exit following his removal.
The Florida Republican emphasized the vulnerability of their majority, pointing to the age of several members within their conference. Gaetz cautioned that any unfortunate events, such as the passing of elderly members, could jeopardize their majority status, especially considering the haste in expelling Santos before a conviction.
Despite the weight of evidence and a damning ethics committee report against Santos, Gaetz advocated for due process and opposed Santos’s expulsion. The ethics committee’s report accused Santos of “blatantly stealing” campaign funds, and he currently faces a 23-count criminal indictment.
Since Santos’s departure from Congress, he has publicly criticized four former colleagues and made allegations against them on his X account, threatening to file ethics complaints against them.
In a separate context, Gaetz himself faces scrutiny from the House Committee on Ethics regarding allegations of sexual misconduct and illegal drug use, which he vehemently denies. While federal prosecutors’ investigation did not result in charges against Gaetz, former Speaker McCarthy publicly suggested that Gaetz attempted to depose him because McCarthy refused involvement in the investigation.
Gaetz refutes McCarthy’s claims, dismissing them as an “urban legend.” The ongoing scrutiny and internal conflicts within the Republican Party are casting a shadow on the stability and unity necessary to maintain their fragile majority in the House of Representatives.