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House Speaker McCarthy defends leadership, cites Gaetz personal issues


House Speaker McCarthy: Matt Gaetz has 'personal things in his life that he has challenges with'

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday lashed out at Rep. Matt Gaetz, saying the fellow Republican lawmaker has “personal things in his life that he has challenges with.”

McCarthy threw that jab on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” one day after Gaetz moved to oust him as the leader of the House.

In February, the Department of Justice ended a two-year criminal sex trafficking investigation into Gaetz without filing charges against the congressman.

McCarthy on Tuesday accused Gaetz of blaming him for an ethics complaint related to the same conduct that was the subject of the criminal probe.

“He wants me to try to wipe that away,” McCarthy said of the ethics investigation.

“I’m not going to do that. That’s illegal. And you know what? If some way I lose my job because I uphold the law [and the] continuity of government, so be it.”

Gaetz on Monday night filed a resolution that seeks to remove McCarthy as speaker. Gaetz’s move came two days after McCarthy, with Democratic support, passed a stopgap funding bill that avoided a government shutdown.

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McCarthy won the gavel in January after 14 failed votes and overcoming opposition from a conservative bloc led by Gaetz. McCarthy granted concessions to Gaetz’s clique, including allowing any individual lawmaker to file a motion to vacate.

“Matt Gaetz had planned to do this from the very beginning,” McCarthy said.

“He has personal things in his life that he has challenges with. That’s fine,” McCarthy said. But “this is just confusing in the process” of keeping the government funded beyond the next few weeks, he said.

The House Ethics Committee, which is led by Republicans, in July re-opened an investigation into allegations against Gaetz, including sexual misconduct and drug use, CNN reported.

A spokesman for Gaetz did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on McCarthy’s remarks.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.



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