Matt Gaetz blasts the House GOP secret ballot process that knocked off Jim Jordan as the party's speaker nominee: 'It's as swampy as swamp gets'

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  • Rep. Matt Gaetz on Friday expressed dismay at Jim Jordan's removal as the GOP speaker nominee.

  • "It's as swampy as swamp gets, and Jim Jordan deserved better than that," Gaetz told reporters.

  • Jordan's removal has thrown the race the wide open, with an array of new entrants looking to take on the role.

Rep. Matt Gaetz was a firm supporter of Rep. Jim Jordan's speakership bid, and he was none too thrilled when the House Republican conference on Friday voted in a secret ballot to drop the Ohio lawmaker as their party's nominee for the position.

The decision sank the House chamber into further disarray, more than two weeks after Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California was ousted as speaker.

Gaetz, who late last week dismissed the "chaos narrative" surrounding the absence of a speaker, told reporters on Friday that Jordan had been mistreated by detractors and compared the secret balloting process to the much-maligned Washington swamp.

"The most popular Republican in the United States Congress was just knifed by a secret ballot, in a private meeting, in the basement of the Capitol," the Florida Republican said. "It's as swampy as swamp gets, and Jim Jordan deserved better than that."

The GOP conference on Friday voted 112-86 to ditch Jordan as their nominee after the lawmaker lost his third vote on the House floor, which once again threw open the contest for speaker.

On Monday, the conference is set to reassemble to hear pitches from the multitude of Republicans who have thrown their hat into the ring, from higher-profile members like House Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota and Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida to lesser-known candidates like Reps. Jack Bergman of Michigan and Austin Scott of Georgia.

Earlier this month, Gaetz filed a motion to vacate the chair, which forced a vote on McCarthy's speakership. Gaetz for weeks had teased using the tool against McCarthy, frustrated at what he said was the Californian's insufficient support of deep spending cuts favored by the conference's most conservative members.

And after McCarthy averted a government shutdown by passing a clean continuing resolution that passed with bipartisan support, the House voted 216-210 to boot him from the position. Eight Republicans joined 208 Democrats to remove McCarthy from the role.

Over the course of several days, the GOP conference has seen House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana enter the race before withdrawing after he attracted insufficient support to hit the 217-mark threshold needed to win the speakership. And Jordan is the latest candidate who's been unable to stave off enough GOP defections in the 221-member majority to secure the speaker's gavel.

Whoever becomes the next speaker will have to navigate a GOP caucus deeply divided on spending, approaches to governance, and personal grievances. Democrats could potentially be in the mix to back a particular GOP speaker nominee if some sort of legislative deals are made, but it is unclear what those terms would look like or if it would actually happen.

Read the original article on Business Insider