Fox New’s Geraldo Rivera accused Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) of “torturing” Kevin McCarthy during the California Republican’s drawn-out bid for the House speakership.
“What in the world were you and your 19 colleagues doing torturing the speaker, your speaker, your speaker-designate Kevin McCarthy?” Rivera asked Gaetz on Thursday’s broadcast of “Hannity.”
“What was that for? What did you hope to attain in that?” Rivera added.
Gaetz, who led the right-wing group of GOP lawmakers that opposed McCarthy’s bid until the 15th ballot, took exception to the torturer characterization. “So, first of all, I’ve got some constituents in the military that could talk to you about real torture,” he said. “I don’t think sitting through 15 votes quite qualifies.”
The far-right Florida congressman reiterated why he held out on McCarthy for so long, citing, among other reasons, his opposition to omnibus spending bills.
Rivera suggested Gaetz’s “filibuster” answer to him was portraying himself “to the American people as a thoughtful legislator,” which was at odds with his usual “flamboyant” and “confrontational” publicity.
“I make a substantive argument about changes to the process and you call me flamboyant and confrontational?” Gaetz fired back.
Hannity interrupted to calm things down, telling Rivera that Gaetz had “answered your very specific question about what he was fighting for.”