Matt Gaetz twists knife over Kevin McCarthy’s failed House votes branding him ‘a squatter’ in speaker’s office

Rep Matt Gaetz has twisted the knife over Kevin McCarthy’s failed attempts to be elected House speaker, branding the GOP leader a “squatter” in the speaker’s office.

On Tuesday, Mr Gaetz sent a letter to Architect of the US Capitol Brett Blanton telling him that Mr McCarthy had moved into the speaker’s office at the Capitol and asking how long before he will be “considered a squatter” there.

“The Speaker of the House Office in the Capitol is currently being occupied by Kevin McCarthy,” he wrote in the memo to Mr Blanton, who runs the federal agency responsible for operations at the US Capitol.

“After three undeciding votes, no member can lay claim to this office.”

He continued: “What is the basis in law, House rule, or precedent to allow someone who has placed second in three successive speaker elections to occupy the Speaker of the House Office? How long will he remain there before he is considered a squatter?”

Mr Gaetz urged Mr Blanton to respond his letter “promptly,” saying that the GOP House leader “can no longer be considered Speaker-Designate following today’s balloting”.

Mr Gaetz shared the letter on his Twitter, writing: “The Speaker of the House Office in the Capitol is currently being occupied by Kevin McCarthy. Kevin McCarthy is not the Speaker of the House. He lost 3 consecutive votes today. I’m demanding answers from the Architect of the Capitol.”

In another tweet, he added: “I’d like to report a squatter.”

Mr McCarthy’s team had been spotted moving into the office of the House speaker on Monday – one day before the new Congress was set to begin and the vote for the role was held.

While this is standard protocol, his actions clearly rattled Mr Gaetz who has been one of the biggest players attempting to derail Mr McCarthy’s bid for the speaker role.

The Florida congressman – who has been under investigation by the Justice Department for allegedly sex trafficking a minor – is part of a group of Republicans dubbed “Never Kevin” who have fought against his bid.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

On Tuesday, Mr McCarthy failed to get enough votes to become House speaker in three separate roll call votes – marking the first time in more than 100 years where a speaker was not elected in the opening vote.

The GOP House leader needs at least 218 votes to be elected speaker, taking over from Democrat Nancy Pelosi after Republicans took control of the lower chamber in the November midterms.

With Republicans only winning a slim majority in the House, he can only afford to lose votes from four GOP members.

Instead, 19 Republicans refused to vote for Mr McCarthy in the first and second votes – with Rep Byron Donalds joining them as the 20th in the third vote.

The 20 outliers cast their votes for Rep Jim Jordan – who said he does not want to be speaker.

The House adjourned for the night at around 5.30pm ET on Tuesday, with voting expected to resume on Wednesday at midday.