Was all the Speaker drama worth it? Matt Gaetz’s latest fundraising appeal says yes.

Matt Gaetz
The Fort Walton Beach said Mike Johnson's elevation to Speaker justified Kevin McCarthy's ouster.

Twenty-two days ago, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz pulled off a historic ouster of a sitting House Speaker. The result was a 22-day leadership fight that exposed the most personal conflicts within the House GOP Conference.

Was it worth it?

A campaign fundraising email sent out by Gaetz immediately after U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson’s election as Speaker suggests it was.

“The Swamp lost today, friends. And the American People WON!” Gaetz wrote. “I know one thing — there’s not a single conservative in America who won’t appreciate the new direction we’re headed under our new leadership.”

Gaetz earlier this month made the motion to vacate the Speaker’s Office, effectively firing Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The ouster proved successful with eight Republicans joining all House Democrats in voting to remove the California Republican.

Early polling showed a majority of Americans supportive of the move. But headlines about chaos in the House increased as Republicans failed to rally around a series of Speaker candidates including Majority Leader Steve Scalise, Majority Whip Tom Emmer and Freedom Caucus Founder Jim Jordan, who Gaetz whipped votes for and called a personal mentor.

Gaetz told Florida Politics that in a Tuesday conference vote, he supported U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds over Emmer but was willing to support Emmer on the floor, but after former President Donald Trump trashed Emmer’s candidacy, he said the caucus needed a Speaker who got along with Trump, the effective leader of the party. He then rallied behind Johnson.

Notably, Gaetz in an interview with conservative podcast host Steve Bannon said McCarthy was the only force trying to scuttle Johnson as a nominee. He noted the former Speaker rallied 43 write-in votes on a final ballot for the conference nomination on Tuesday evening, more votes than Donalds received in a final ballot against Johnson. But when a roll call vote was called, no one said they would support McCarthy over Johnson on the floor.

“Everyone in the room knew at that moment that I wasn’t the force for chaos, I wasn’t causing disunity,” Gaetz told Bannon. “For the last three weeks, the reason that the House of Representatives has been paralyzed is because for his own selfish gain. Kevin McCarthy was sabotaging the candidacy of anyone else because he was plotting a return.”

Now Gaetz feels vindicated with a candidate he can support as Speaker.

“Mike Johnson is the America-First conservative we DESERVE as Speaker of the House,” Gaetz wrote in his fundraising email. “He is a principled leader who is one of President Trump’s biggest supporters. Mike will support single-subject spending bills (what our fight has been about from the beginning) and is the biggest threat to the Swamp and the lobbyists who have held Congress hostage for too long.”

Just sending an appeal could draw some criticism from those who said the entire episode served as a fundraising bonanza for Gaetz. At one point this month, the Fort Walton Beach Republican sent out a public apology after his campaign attacked moderates in the conference for backing McCarthy.

But Gaetz embraced attacks on his character as the mid-Congress leadership fight drew to a close. He noted McCarthy allies compared him to the Taliban when he wouldn’t support the ex-Speaker in November. More recently, The New York Times labeled him a “political arsonist.”

But Gaetz said landing Johnson in the Speaker’s office vindicates his actions.

“We took a risk in standing up to the Swamp. We held the line. We braved their attacks,” he wrote. “And at the end of the day… We delivered another sea change to disrupt ‘business as usual’ and get Congress back to working for the American People.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Earl Pitts "America's BIG VOICE on The Right" American

    October 25, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Congrats Govornor Gaetz,
    This is the first consiquence The Swamp Dwellers have ever suffered despite many past promises made to drain the swamp.
    Matt has suceeded in making the first documented foray against The D. C. SWAMP!!!
    Great job setting a high bar for the many battles to come against the no longer Untouchable D. C. Swamp Critters.
    My Man, Govornor Gaetz

    • rick whitaker

      October 25, 2023 at 9:08 pm


  • Julia

    October 25, 2023 at 5:22 pm


  • Julia

    October 25, 2023 at 5:29 pm

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  • rick whitaker

    October 25, 2023 at 9:14 pm

    is trump paying trump a salary or is he working for trump for free

Comments are closed.


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