I hate to say it but the contemptible Matt Gaetz might actually have very good reason to be thankful next week. I say that because I believe he has been handed an incredible gift he doesn’t deserve. Let me explain.
As you know, one of the more spectacular “collisions” in House Republican’s Klown Kar demolition derby this past week was the House Ethics Committee dropping a tank, with “George Santos is GUILTY” painted on both sides. And the front. And the back. With a giant, Ft. McHenry during the bombardment by the British sized flag on a pole sticking out of the turret. Georgie quickly attempted a duck & cover routine, saying he’d serve out his term but not run for re-election. (And refund checks to everyone he defrauded are in the mail) However, that’s not good enough for lot’s of House Republicans.
With such a slim majority and needing his vote, despite the damning criminal indictment he’s under back home (? Where is home? He’s in FL when not in DC!) in NY have provided cover. However the Ethics Committee has nailed him for more crimes than even prosecutors in NY have indicted him for. Say it with me now – Superseding Indictment! The practical effect that there is actually serious movement in GOP ranks to expel Santos. Not just from the GOP caucus but from the House of Representatives. It would of course require Democrats to go along with I guess half or so of GOPers to reach the two-thirds hurdle to pass a resolution to send Santos packing. However, if reporting today can be believed it’s not some fantasy. Democrats of course will want to do some serious counting of GOP votes to expel so as not to be hung out to dry, but it seems even Speaker Johnson is telling the caucus to vote their conscience on this one. In other words the Speaker is telling Santos yes, I know lots of people are done with you but don’t come running to me to bail you out of your mess.
Meanwhile, Matt Gaetz is down in Florida. Or perhaps on some island that became his go to destination after Epstein’s place became somewhere to avoid, racking up Venmo charges on his credit card. He’s such a dirtbag it’s hard to say. However, for a while now his fellow Republicans have been sick of him. He has after all put in the work to become the House version of Ted Cruz, THEIR most hated man. Worse for him, he’s the reason the new Congress started with that humiliating “Charlie Fox” (cluster f**k) of votes and ensuring the entire country knew the price for the gavel would be being his “bitch.” Gaetz had few friends to begin with and sure as hell made sure he wouldn’t be getting any in the future. At one point a fellow Republican tried to physically attack him! Luckily (for Bratty Matty) enough people were in the way to grab hold of the guy who would have smashed in his smug face.
Anyway, as you know one of the concessions Gaetz extracted from McCarthy was a rules change to allow any one member to file a motion to Vacate the Chair whenever they wanted. Gaetz wasn’t shy about holding that political Sword of Damocles over McCarthy’s head all year long AND making sure everyone knew it. After McCarthy made the deal on the debt limit it was only a matter of time before Gaetz would chop off McCarthy’s head. Or he hand holding the gavel at least. McCarthy I guess managed to buy a little time by, as the Sept. 30 budget deadline and a govt. shutdown loomed reneging on the deal with the Democrats about spending levels. Still, for all his faults McCarthy had enough sense to know how bad it would be for the GOP next year (and at the state level in upcoming off-year elections) if there was a shutdown.
As word got around McCarthy had been working out a deal for a 45 day CR to keep the govt. open Gaetz was clear that would be it. But something else was in the air back then. Fellow House GOPers were saying they’d had enough of Gaetz and his antics. Sure, many were furious at the prospect of not extracting major spending cuts but most knew like McCarthy did the consequences of a shutdown. And were tired of Gaetz’ (years of) performance art/jackassery. It wasn’t a secret that the Ethics Committee was taking a HARD look at Gaetz, nor that Gaetz was mad at McCarthy for not shutting it down.
It was then word started getting out that once the budget stuff was dealt with, IF that ethics report dropped and found Gaetz guilty of some of the things he’s been accused of it would be time to expel HIM. So even before the vote to oust McCarthy there were news stories about Gaetz being in hot water. And after? Well, if you want you can see the reaction in this Yahoo News article. As House Republicans gave us a three week “Charlie Fox II” such talk increased. Hopes being expressed that the Ethics Report (on Gaetz – no one was talking about Santos back then) would provide the leverage to kick Gaetz out of the House and send him back down to Florida. (Well, DeSantis IS termed out and someone has to take his place in a couple of years)
Add in McCarthy, who was popular with the caucus AND quite good at using his leadership status to fundraise (even before becoming Speaker) wanting some payback and Gaetz was in fact in serious trouble if that Ethics Report, rumored to be almost ready dropped and it did in fact nail him. Yes, the GOP margin is slim but he’d be replaced (quickly) by a Republican so that wouldn’t be a worry. Don’t think for a second Gaetz, for all his bravado hasn’t been terrified.
But now, he has a “weapon of distraction.” SANTOS is the one almost certainly facing expulsion and if it does come up for a vote he’s likely to be gone. It’s possible that having expelled Santos House Republicans, even those itching to do it to Gaetz might back off. At least for a while. With next year being an election year and time away for the holidays the hatred of Gaetz might cool down just enough that the votes won’t be there to kick him out. He, and fellow GOPers can after all point to the prosecutor who looked at what he’d done down in FL and at Epstein’s places but didn’t file charges (problems with statues of limitations and one of their best witness not wanting to expose herself to the circus of a trial) and talk about “due process” and so on.
That’s why I think the bombshell Ethics Report on Santos has Gaetz thanking his lucky starts right now. That come Thursday he will be genuinely thankful that something, or rather someone (Santos) has provide a way for him to slither and slime his way out of his own expulsion.
It sucks, but that’s how I think things will play out. Santos will be expelled and Gaetz will benefit from a “We can’t kick out TWO of our own back-to-back” mentality.