Kevin McCarthy(l), Matt Gaetz(r)

Consolidated News Photos/Shutterstock Lev Radin/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Kevin McCarthy lashes into Matt Gaetz, says ouster was because ‘he slept with a 17-year-old’



Katherine Huggins


Posted on Apr 10, 2024

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy did not mince his words while discussing his ouster from the role, taking a not-so-subtle jab at Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who spearheaded the effort.

“I’ll give you the truth why I’m not speaker: It’s because one person, a member of Congress, wanted me to stop an ethics complaint because he slept with a 17-year-old,” McCarthy said Tuesday during a discussion about the state of politics at Georgetown University.

Allegations that Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old girl first surfaced in 2021, prompting him to claim the girl in question “doesn’t exist” in a Fox News interview.

In March 2024, Gaetz was subpoenaed by the woman—who is now in her 20s—to sit for a deposition as part of a civil lawsuit filed by a longtime friend of Gaetz’s who alleges he was defamed during the Justice Department’s years-long investigation into sex-trafficking allegations against Gaetz and another friend, Joel Greenberg.

The Justice Department decided not to charge Gaetz in its probe last year. ABC News reported prosecutors were concerned in part about the difficulty in proving to a jury Gaetz and others knew that the minor was underage. Greenberg was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

But a House Ethics probe is still ongoing over the allegations—something that McCarthy blames for Gaetz’s aversion to him.

McCarthy noted the ethics complaint against Gaetz “started before I ever became Speaker and that’s illegal and I’m not going to get in the middle.”

“Did he do it or not? I don’t know, but Ethics [Committee] is looking at it,” he continued. “There’s other people in jail because of it. And he wanted me to influence it.”

Gaetz, for his part, claimed virtually the opposite—that the probe is being used as retaliation for his work ousting McCarthy.

But a report published by the Daily Beast in January, in which the outlet reviewed private communication from Gaetz, the congressman confirmed to friends and others that the ouster was payback for the ethics probe.

Gaetz denied the report in a statement to the Daily Beast, saying that he “led the charge to remove Kevin McCarthy from his role as House Speaker because he failed to keep his promises.”

McCarthy went on to say that the vote to oust him as speaker was not a smart vote and that “historically, it’ll be viewed as a very bad thing that happened to our Congress.”

He added he doesn’t believe it will happen again anytime soon—despite Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) facing a similar threat from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)

“The Dems will never let it happen,” McCarthy said of a possible Johnson ouster.

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*First Published: Apr 10, 2024, 11:37 am CDT