Rep. Matt Gaetz, who caused chaos in the House in October when he mounted a successful effort to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy as speaker, probably won’t be winning praise from colleagues anytime soon. To add salt to the wound, Fox News analyst Juan Williams gave Gaetz the undesirable title of “Politician of the Year” in an op-ed Monday, in which he called the Florida Republican “a living monument to an era of elected Republican officials with no interest in governing.”
Williams wrote in The Hill:
With his hands on the wheel and driving toward revenge and chaos — all to raise his personal profile and stir up small, online donations — Gaetz crashed the House of Representatives in a ditch on a low road.
As a result of his tactics, the people’s House, one of the world’s great democratic institutions, is now commonly derided by citizens on the left and right as a clown show.
Williams also blames Gaetz for the string of House members who recently announced their retirements. “His influence, his antics and his embrace of chaos over governance are part of the reason why so many Members are bolting for the exits,” Williams wrote.
Gaetz is persona non grata among his Republican colleagues in the House. The stunts to oust McCarthy have earned him more than a few enemies in his own party. The Daily Beast reported that no member of Congress is “more hated than Matt Gaetz,” and The New York Times called him “one of the most reviled members” of the House.
He doesn’t seem to be especially popular in his home state, either. A recent poll from the Florida Atlantic University Mainstreet PolCom Lab found that 57% of Florida voters disapprove of his job performance, with 46% saying they “strongly disapprove.”
Gaetz’s speaker shenanigans have renewed attention on a House committee probe into allegations against him of sexual misconduct and misuse of funds. McCarthy had said that the inquiry was behind Gaetz’s move to oust him in the first place, even though it wasn’t in McCarthy’s power to halt it. A related Justice Department investigation into Gaetz’s conduct, which included allegations involving sex trafficking and sex with a minor, was dropped in February. He has long denied any wrongdoing.
Clarissa-Jan Lim is a breaking/trending news blogger for MSNBC Digital. She was previously a senior reporter and editor at BuzzFeed News.
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