Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) said on Wednesday that he thinks the House GOP conference would have devolved into a physical fight had lawmakers stayed in town after the Tuesday night vote to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) from his post.
“I’ll be really candid. I think if we had stayed together in the meeting last night, I think that you would have seen fists thrown,” Graves said in an interview on CNN’s “The Lead.” “And I’m not being dramatic when I say that.”
Graves, a key McCarthy ally, defended the decision of the acting Speaker, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), to send lawmakers home until next week.
“There is a lot of raw emotions right now. I think it was best to let folks go back home, decompress a little bit and then come back together,” he said Wednesday.
Graves’s remarks come after McHenry’s decision has faced criticism from some who say the House should have stayed in session to elect a speaker. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who spearheaded the effort to oust McCarthy, sharply criticized the decision in an interview Tuesday night.
“I do have to offer some pretty sharp criticism of the new pro tem of the House, Patrick McHenry,” Gaetz said. “We met tonight, and he sent us home until Tuesday of next week.”
“We should be here tomorrow, working to elect a new Speaker, getting onto our appropriations bills and engaging in a negotiation with the Senate to get the government funded, but instead these people got to go home and cry for a week,” he continued.
Congress has until Nov. 17 to pass appropriations bills or another continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown. The House also does not have a speaker, leaving the legislative body paralyzed.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.