Gaetz counts the cost of his recent actions
On November 27, it was reported that a group of House Republicans has turned on Florida's most outspoken and divisive Congressman - Matt Gaetz.
Following a turbulent couple of months during which Gaetz was instrumental in ousting the former Speaker of the House - Kevin McCarthy - it would appear that Gaetz is left more isolated from his colleagues than ever before.
After McCarthy was ousted following a motion originally introduced by Florida's Gaetz, there followed weeks of chaos as House Republicans struggled to appoint a replacement. While the ultra-conservative Republican from Louisiana - Mike Johnson - is now installed in the speaker's chair, it would seem that Gaetz is left with few remaining allies, and struggling to gain support for his initiatives.
According to Rep. Dusty Johnson, a Republican from South Dakota who considers himself a friend of Gaetz, the outlook is bleak. As he put it:
“There aren’t a lot of people who, you know, are gonna go out of their way to defend Matt Gaetz, I mean, he’s a pretty diabolical character.”
The comments from Rep. Dusty Johnson echo sentiments voiced by other Republicans of late. And yet, in spite of being described as "narcissistic" by McCarthy, and a "vile person" by another House Republican, Gaetz doesn't appear the least bit troubled about upsetting his colleagues.
As he put it recently while addressing Florida's GOP Freedom Summit in Kissimmee, FL: "I'm not going anywhere".
Florida 'firebrand' falling out of favor
The situation would appear bleak for Gaetz, if he valued the support of his colleagues to any great extent. But it's not just in the House of Representatives that Gaetz has seen his popularity dropping off. If recent surveys are to be believed, then he's losing ground with his constituents too. A poll of voters in Florida, released on November 21 by Florida Atlantic University revealed that Gaetz is viewed unfavorably by the majority of voters consulted.
Just 21% of those polled viewed Gaetz favorably, with 57% feeling unfavorably towards Florida's self-appointed 'firebrand' Republican.
The poll of around 1,000 voters was taken just after the Louisiana Republican Mike Johnson was appointed as Speaker of the House, an appointment that Gaetz welcomed, even though he'd previously declared his support for Jim Jordan and other candidates in previous rounds of voting.
While there's still a while to win voters around before Gaetz next faces an election, his ability to pass legislation may yet be hindered which could see him struggle to gain support. After the debacle over appointing a new speaker, Gaetz has already seen 70 Republicans turn their backs on him, siding with Democrats to block a proposal to curb funding to the FBI.
Gaetz reliant on the backing of Trump
One paradox of the situation is that no matter how far Gaetz falls out of favor with his fellow-Republicans, Gaetz seems to be able to do no wrong in the eyes of the one-term former president - Donald Trump.
On numerous occasions, Gaetz has risked upsetting three-time loser Trump, and most recently this came when he backed Tom Emmer for speaker just before Trump dismissed him as a Republican in Name Only (a RINO). Nonetheless, Trump keeps forgiving Florida's Gaetz, and maybe that's all he needs to keep on doing what he wants.
Do you think that Florida's Matt Gaetz is doing a good job of serving the people of Florida? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.