Matt Gaetz calls Trump loyalist Jim Jordan 'the spiritual and intellectual leader' of House Republicans

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  • Gaetz called Jordan "the spiritual and intellectual leader" of the House GOP in a Time interview.

  • Gaetz has disparaged House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, who's widely viewed as a potential future House speaker.

  • In April, Gaetz tweeted that Jordan was "the hardest working" member of the House GOP conference.

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz heaped praise on conservative Rep. Jim Jordan, calling the Ohio lawmaker "the spiritual and intellectual leader" of the House Republican conference, in an interview with Time Magazine published Tuesday.

The Florida lawmaker downplayed senior GOP leaders in the House, pointing to Jordan — one of former President Donald Trump's staunchest congressional allies — as a revered figure among lawmakers in a caucus dominated by its most conservative voices.

"Where Jim goes, the conference goes," Gaetz told the publication of the Ohio Republican. "I don't even remember who holds which austere titles that append to what corner offices and expanded staff budgets, but they are the followers."

He added: "Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene [of Georgia], myself — we are the leaders."

In the Time interview, Gaetz also stated that no one has yet to reach out to him regarding the upcoming vote for House Speaker, which will come after the midterm elections in November.

Democrats are clinging to narrow 220-208 majority, and Republicans feel confident that they can win the 218 seats needed to control the chamber, driven by President Joe Biden's middling approval ratings and the party in power historically shedding congressional seats in the first midterm election when they also occupy the White House.

In recent months, Gaetz has been highly critical of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who is poised to ascend to the speakership if Republicans retake control of the lower chamber.

After The New York Times published an audio recording in which McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana expressed concern about comments that Gaetz made about Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming following the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, the Florida congressman tore into GOP leadership.

"Rep. McCarthy and Rep. Scalise held views about President Trump and me that they shared on sniveling calls with Liz Cheney, not us," he tweeted in April. "This is the behavior of weak men, not leaders."

He added: "On the bright side, you no longer have to be a lobbyist with a $5,000 check to know what McCarthy and Scalise really think. You just have to listen to their own words as they disparage Trump and the Republicans in Congress who fight for him."

Jordan has previously stated that McCarthy would be his choice to become the next Speaker.

Meanwhile, Gaetz has hyped Jordan. In April, he tweeted that Jordan was "the hardest working and most talented member of the Republican House Conference," and added that "every member knows it." The congressman reiterated to Time that Jordan personified what he would want in a GOP leader.

Gaetz also told Time that in 2015, then-Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin supported McCarthy to become the next speaker, only to see the current minority leader withdraw his candidacy at the last minute — which paved the way for Ryan to lead the House.

"Paul Ryan was for Kevin McCarthy last time Kevin ran for Speaker," he told Time. "I think one of the first steps to becoming Speaker is initially supporting Kevin McCarthy."

Read the original article on Business Insider