Matt Gaetz Ribbing Donald Trump Over Speaker Vote Saga Goes Viral

Matt Gaetz has joked that he nominated Donald Trump as Speaker of the House in January as "I wanted a way to stop him calling me."

He made the remarks in an interview with Live From America TV, a conservative online media platform.

Gaetz was one of the leaders of a group of Republicans who tried to block Kevin McCarthy from becoming the speaker in January. While McCarthy was eventually successful, it took 15 ballots of voting over a period of four days before he secured the election. During the process, McCarthy was forced to make a number of concessions to his Republican critics, with Gaetz joking he nearly ran out of "stuff to ask for" from his GOP colleague.

Live From America TV host Kevin Smith asked Gaetz about his decision to nominate Trump for the speakership. Smiling broadly, the Republican congressman replied: "President Trump found that to be very interesting and I wanted a way to stop him from calling me."

Matt Gaetz at CPAC
U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, speaks during the 2023 Conservative Political Action Coalition (CPAC) Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 3, 2023. In a recent media appearance, Gaetz joked he nominated Donald Trump to be House Speaker as “I wanted a way to stop him calling me.” GETTY/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP

Trump publicly endorsed Kevin McCarthy and made a number of calls on his behalf during the campaign.

A 32-second clip of Gaetz's exchange was shared on Twitter by PatriotTakes, an account that describes itself as "monitoring and exposing right-wing extremism."

Newsweek has contacted Gaetz's congressional office for comment by phone.

Gaetz nominated Trump on January 5, claiming he was the "first president in my lifetime that didn't start any new wars."

This sparked an interruption from Democratic Representative Steve Cohen who suggested Trump had tried to start a "war" in Congress, referencing the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, by hundreds of the then-president's supporters.

In the video clip, Cohen could be heard saying: "He tried to overthrow our government."

Gaetz was the only House representative who ended up voting for Trump to be speaker, though Lauren Boebert had earlier suggested she might.

McCarthy was strongly supported by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who, like Gaetz and Boebert, is a staunch Trump ally.

She tweeted: "I don't want to see President Trump be just third in line to President, I want to see him actually be President. That's why I was proud to endorse him the same day he announced he is running for President in 2024."

Boebert clashed particularly viciously with Greene, who she said was "kind of nasty about it" during an appearance on The Dana Show radio program.

During the discussion, referring to Georgia Representative Greene, she said: "We hadn't received the concessions that we wanted and my colleague from Georgia, the gentlewoman from Georgia, came up and started being kind of nasty about it, and no one else had been nasty about it. Everyone had been very professional."

Correction 03/16/23 5:00 p.m. ET: This story has been corrected to say Gaetz appeared with Live From America TV host Kevin Smith, not Jeremy Herrell as was originally stated.