Matt Gaetz considers Jim Jordan as new Republican leader after McCarthy audio leak

Rep. Matt Gaetz appeared to consider Rep. Jim Jordan as a potential replacement for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy after the release of audio in which McCarthy said he was considering advising then-President Donald Trump to give up.

Gaetz, a Republican who represents Florida’s 1st district, was responding to a Twitter user who had urged him and Jordan to take the leadership of the GOP in the House from McCarthy.

The original tweet referred to McCarthy as a “RINO” (Republican in name only), but Gaetz’s response focused on praise for Jordan, who represents Ohio’s 4th congressional district.

“@jim_Jordan is the hardest working and most talented member of the House Republican Conference,” Gaetz wrote. “And all the members know it.”

Gaetz has been highly critical of McCarthy since the audio was released.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) (L) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) (R) listen during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee at the Rayburn House office building on June 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. Gaetz has praised Jordan following the suggestion that he could replace House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

In that Jan. 10, 2021, taping, McCarthy told Rep. Liz Cheney and others on the call that he was considering advising Trump to resign following the Jan. 6 unrest on Capitol Hill.

Gaetz has blamed Cheney for leaking the recording to reporters Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin from The New York Times, who first reported that McCarthy had considered recommending Trump’s resignation. McCarthy strongly denied the reports before the audio was released.

“While I was demonstrating in Wyoming against Liz Cheney…Kevin McCarthy was defending Liz Cheney among House Republicans…While Liz Cheney was secretly recording Kevin McCarthy for the New York TimesGaetz tweeted on Friday.

“@GOPLader you should have trusted my instincts not yours,” he said.

However, a Cheney spokesman denied providing the audio to reporters and said he did not know how the recording was obtained.

Gaetz offered further criticism of McCarthy’s leadership during an appearance on Newsmax on Friday.

“You have a circumstance where you have to believe Kevin’s statements or your own lying ears,” the congressman said. “There are some problems.”

“The conference never believed that Donald Trump should resign, so having a leader so far away from the conference is itself a problem,” Gaetz continued.

However, Gaetz said McCarthy’s position might not be affected by the leaked audio because of the House minority leader’s ability to raise funds.

Gaetz said that “the pact between the leadership and the Republicans at the conference is not a pact based on truth or honesty.”

“The pact is based on fundraising and Kevin McCarthy is the most elite fundraiser in the history of the Republican conference,” he continued, adding that McCarthy’s position could be secure if he continues to raise funds.

He went on to say that McCarthy “really gains his strength not by maintaining a high credibility of the truth with people, but by making sure he’s always going to be there with the checks.”

Trump and McCarthy reportedly had a “positive” call with Trump following the release of the audio.

news week has asked Kevin McCarthy’s office for comment.

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