In fact, he made a shocking statement to Jake Tapper that he thinks Gaetz’s real reason for wanting to be in Congress was less about public service and more about access to underage aides on Capitol Hill.
Tapper asked Short about Tuesday’s ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as House speaker, which Gaetz initiated and then carried out when seven fellow Republicans and 208 House Democrats joined him in voting against McCarthy’s leadership.
Short first noted that McCarthy was partially responsible for his own ouster since, as a condition of being named House speaker, he agreed to change a rule so that it now takes just one person to call for a motion to “vacate the office” of the speaker, which triggers a vote of the full House on the speaker’s fate.
As HuffPost presciently noted in January after McCarthy became House speaker, “A lawmaker simply has to declare the speaker’s office vacant, forcing a no-confidence vote that could cost McCarthy his job — and a single McCarthy-hater like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) could make a spectacle of himself in the process.”
Before the change, a majority from either party was required to call for the vote, but Short predicted that the next House speaker will revert to the original rule.
“I think whoever succeeds Kevin will make sure that that rule is changed,” Short said. “I don’t think that’s the way it is. But to be fair, it was negotiated by Kevin when he became speaker back in January. It was the condition to get some of the members to support him. But I don’t think it’s a healthy process, Jake.”
Short blasted Gaetz later in the interview, saying that the Florida congressman isn’t the “fiscal conservative” he claims to be.
“To say he came as a fiscal crusader, it’s more likely he came here for the teenage interns on Capitol Hill, to be honest,” Short said, referring to an investigation that started in 2020 over allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old.
The investigation was dropped by the Department of Justice earlier this year.
Short didn’t elaborate on Gaetz’s alleged interest in interns, preferring to criticize his so-called fiscal conservatism.
“Look, he’s voted for continuing resolutions. He’s voted for omnibus bills. He voted for trillions of dollars in COVID spending,” Short said. “Even this year, he put forward an earmark [a set-aside of funding for a specific purpose], and yet he’s presented himself as ‘I’m going to do this for the fiscal benefit of the country.’ That’s not honest. The guy just has a distaste for Kevin and used the rules to dethrone him.”
HuffPost reached out to Gaetz’s office for comment, but no one immediately responded.
You can see the exchange below.