Matt Gaetz Mulls Jim Jordan as New GOP Leader Following McCarthy Audio Leak

Representative Matt Gaetz appeared to mull Representative Jim Jordan as a possible replacement for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy following the release of audio where McCarthy said he was considering advising then-President Donald Trump to resign.

Gaetz, a Republican who represents Florida's 1st district, was replying to a Twitter user who had urged him and Jordan to take over the House GOP leadership from McCarthy.

The original tweet referred to McCarthy as a "RINO" (Republican in Name Only) but Gaetz' response focused on praise for Jordan, who represents Ohio's 4th congressional district.

"@jim_Jordan is the hardest working and most talented member of the Republican House Conference," Gaetz wrote. "And every member knows it."

Gaetz has been highly critical of McCarthy since the audio was released.

Gaetz and Jordan Attend a Hearing
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) (L) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) (R) listen during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee at Rayburn House Office Building June 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. Gaetz has praised Jordan following a suggestion he could replace House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Alex Wong/Getty Images

On that recording from January 10, 2021, McCarthy told Representative Liz Cheney and others on the call that he was thinking about advising Trump to resign following the Capitol riot on January 6.

Gaetz has blamed Cheney for leaking the recording to reporters Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin of The New York Times, who first reported that McCarthy had considered recommending Trump's resignation. McCarthy strongly denied the reporting before the audio was released.

"While I was rallying in Wyoming against Liz Cheney ... Kevin McCarthy was defending Liz Cheney among House Republicans...While Liz Cheney was secretly recording Kevin McCarthy for the New York Times," Gaetz tweeted on Friday.

"@GOPLeader—you should have trusted my instincts, not your own," he said.

However, a spokesperson for Cheney denied she had provided the reporters with the audio and said she didn't know how the recording was obtained.

Gaetz offered further criticism of McCarthy's leadership during an appearance on Newsmax on Friday.

"You have a circumstance where you either have to believe Kevin's statements or your own lying ears," the congressman said. "There are a few problems."

"The conference never believed that Donald Trump should resign, so to have a leader so far outside of the conference is itself a problem," Gaetz went on.

However, Gaetz said McCarthy's position might not be impacted by the leaked audio because of the House Minority Leader's ability to raise funds.

Gaetz said "the covenant between leadership and Republicans in conference isn't a covenant based on truth or honesty."

"The covenant is based on fundraising and Kevin McCarthy is the most elite fundraiser in the history of the Republican conference," he went on, adding that McCarthy's position might be secure if continues to bringing in funds.

He went on to say that McCarthy "really gains his strength not by maintaining some great credibility of truth with people but by ensuring he will always be there with the checks."

Trump and McCarthy reportedly had a "positive" call with Trump following the release of the audio.

Newsweek has asked Kevin McCarthy's office for comment.