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Ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy says fellow GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz 'belongs in jail'

Rep. Matt Gaetz and Rep. Kevin McCarthy stand face to face in the House Chamber. McCarthy appears to be yelling at Gaetz.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (L) talks to Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in the House Chamber after Gaetz voted present during the fourth day of voting for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2023 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • Nearly two months ago, Matt Gaetz kicked off the process to oust McCarthy as speaker of the House.

  • McCarthy said he now thinks Matt Gaetz "belongs in jail."

  • Gaetz is under an ethics investigation tied to reports he showed colleagues pictures of nude women.

It's been nearly two months since former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy was ousted from his leadership role after fellow Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz forced a House vote on the matter, and there's clearly still bad blood between the two legislators.

In an interview with Politico, McCarthy said he thinks Gaetz is more fit for a penitentiary than an office at the Capitol.

Asked about the fact there are no Florida representatives in positions of leadership, McCarthy explained there's a "cross-section" of members from the Sunshine State.

"You have Gaetz," he said, "who belongs in jail, and you have serious members."

While it's unclear exactly what specific allegations McCarthy was alluding to, Gaetz has a history of run-ins with police and investigators.

A decade before he was elected to Congress, local police arrested Gaetz in Florida and charged him with driving under the influence, though the charges were ultimately dropped.

Gaetz has also been under a microscope in recent years after a close associate of his, former Florida tax official Joel Greenberg, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking a child. Gaetz has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and prosecutors reportedly have recommended he not face any charges relating to Greenberg's case.

The Florida congressman is, however, still under investigation by the House Ethics Committee after reports emerged he showed pictures of naked women to his colleagues and attended drug-fueled parties in Washington, DC.

Responding to McCarthy's comment, Gaetz referenced the former speaker's recent hallway altercation with a fellow GOP member.

"Tough words from a guy who sucker punches people in the back," Gaetz said. "The only assault I committed was against Kevin's fragile ego."

On Thursday, Axios reported that McCarthy may leave office before the end of his term in January 2025. The outlet reported that he told donors in private that he wanted to "get the hell out" of Congress.

Read the original article on Business Insider