“MAGA is ascendant,” Gaetz told Steve Bannon on the ex-Donald Trump advisor’s podcast on Wednesday.
“If you don’t think that moving from to MAGA Mike Johnson shows the ascendance of this movement and where the power in the Republican Party truly lies, then you’re not paying attention.”
Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, was elected speaker Wednesday following three weeks of chaos after Gaetz prompted the ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from the role.
Gaetz was angry that McCarthy worked with Democrats to avert a government shutdown and did not acquiesce to other demands of a hard-right faction of lawmakers he led.
Republicans cycled through three nominees before managing to agree on Johnson, who holds extreme views on women’s and LGBTQ+ rights and led a push to throw out the 2020 election results on Trump’s behalf.
Rep. (D-Va.) suggested Gaetz’s name for Johnson was appropriate.
″‘MAGA Mike Johnson,‘” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “House Republicans’ words, not ours.”
, senior adviser to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project group, called on the media to “stop burying the lede” about “MAGA Mike,” adding that he would “do the bidding of” the extremist agenda.
Hey—mainstream media…stop burying the lede about “MAGA” @RepMikeJohnson
“ MAGA Mike” is a leader of the Jan 6th objectors, a Trump ally and will do the bidding of the illiberal populist MAGA extremist agenda.
This is not someone worthy of the Speaker’s gavel. https://t.co/gHd5Zr9zg9
— Tara Setmayer 🌻 (@TaraSetmayer) October 25, 2023
Politico Washington correspondent Rachael Bade said “that nickname is gonna stick.”
And former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) said Gaetz was correct, calling Johnson’s election a victory for the Florida lawmaker.
Gaetz is correct. Mike Johnson, unlike McCarthy, is MAGA. It’s a MAGA party. Johnson as Speaker will be a victory for Gaetz. https://t.co/uYqUTDKBIA
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) October 25, 2023
Other journalists and commentators zeroed in on Gaetz’s remark about “where the power in the Republican Party truly lies.”
“Matt Gaetz keeps being right and it’s kind of annoying,” former Republican National Committee spokesperson Tim Miller wrote.
See some of the other commentary below.
The biggest problem with Mike Johnson is not that he’s an election denier.
It’s that Republicans acquiesced to the demand that ONLY an election denier can lead them, and anyone (like Emmer) who voted to certify the election is disqualified. So yeah, the extremists won. https://t.co/K2H3blSVlp
— Tom Malinowski (@Malinowski) October 25, 2023
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