A Republican congressman, Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana, has said that he believes his colleagues would have come to blows if they had stayed in session after the House voted to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
McCarthy (R-CA) was voted out of his position on Tuesday largely due to an effort by a fellow Republican, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. Gaetz led a group of seven other Republicans to vote with the Democrats to remove McCarthy over what Gaetz said was the speaker’s ineffective leadership. McCarthy said that Gaetz held a personal grudge.
Graves, a close ally of McCarthy, defended the decision to recess the House after the vote, saying that it was necessary to give members time to cool down.
Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana made the comments in an interview with CNN on Wednesday, the day after the historic vote.
“I’ll be really candid. I think if we had stayed together in the meeting last night, I think you would have seen fists thrown. I’m not being dramatic when I say that. There is a lot of raw emotions right now. I think it was best to let folks go back home, decompress a little bit, and then come back together,” Graves told CNN host Jake Tapper.
“I think what would make sense before we even get into the speaker’s race is, number one, within the Republican conference there is a rule that Matt Gaetz already violated yesterday that prohibits any one person from bringing up a motion to vacate. Problem is the rule doesn’t have any penalty or enforcement action,” Graves said. “Secondly, I think the conference should come together and change the House rules to raise the threshold on a motion to vacate above just one.”
Graves’ comments highlight the deep divisions within the Republican Party, which have been exacerbated by McCarthy’s removal from the speakership.
The House is scheduled to return from recess on Monday, at which time members will attempt to elect a new speaker. It is unclear who will be elected, but it is likely to be a close vote.
“If we had stayed together in the meeting last night, I think that you would have seen fists thrown … There is a lot of raw emotions right now.”
— Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) says he supports the House taking the week to “decompress” before a Speaker vote pic.twitter.com/RSCkBx7U2y
— The Recount (@therecount) October 4, 2023