Gaetz: Hakeem Jeffries Not Really in Charge of Democrats, He's Just the 'Frontman'


GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida argued Sunday that House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries is just a “frontman” for former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The subject came up during an interview on Newsmax in the context of reports some House Republicans were looking to strike a deal with Democrats in order to elect a House speaker other than Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Gaetz said he is surprised that backing Jordan is a difficult decision for some Republican lawmakers.

The congressman explained the reason Kevin McCarthy is no longer speaker is because he had lost the trust of a group of members of the Republican conference due to not living up to the agreements he made in January to secure the position.

“I think Jim Jordan has a lot of trust among conservative Republicans, more moderate Republicans. He’s one of our most effective campaigners and fundraisers. He is a man of vision and courage and virtue,” Gaetz said.

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“And the only reason we aren’t taking a vote on Jim Jordan tomorrow is because the swamp wants an opportunity to regroup and reconstitute and threaten House conservatives that if we don’t take back Kevin McCarthy, like some jilted ex, somehow we’re going to be forced into a deal with Democrats that empowers Hakeem Jeffries and Republicans who might want to do that deal with Democrats,” he continued.

“We should not go backward to Kevin McCarthy. We should go forward with Jim Jordan,” Gaetz said.

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The representative next contended that Pelosi is still the one really in charge of Democrats, behind the scenes.

“Nancy Pelosi rules with an iron fist,” Gaetz said. “And by the way, she’s still the one in charge of that conference. I mean, Hakeem Jeffries is the frontman, but the person that’s really calling the shots among the Democrats is Nancy Pelosi.”

“She’s the one who made the decision that they didn’t want to own McCarthy, and that’s why they didn’t support him on my motion to vacate,” he added.

In other words, if even some Democrats had voted against the motion to vacate the speaker chair, it would have appeared they were saving McCarthy’s job.

On Oct. 3, Gaetz, along with seven other Republicans, joined all the House Democrats to remove McCarthy as speaker. The final vote was 216-210.

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“As Republicans, our general nature is to be more independent-minded, to be more independent thinking” than the Democrats, Gaetz observed.

“We question centralized control of things as a natural part of our ideology, so we’re a little bit more unruly at times, but I think that the American people want to see some unruliness in Washington, D.C,” he said.

As of Monday, support for a Jordan speakership appeared to be gaining momentum as holdouts including Reps. Mike Rogers of Alabama, Ken Calvert of California, and Ann Wagner of Missouri, came on board.

During a Monday Fox News interview, McCarthy himself said the GOP conference should back Jordan.

“My focus is to get Jim Jordan elected speaker. Get this congress back moving again,” McCarthy said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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