IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

GOP rep slams his own party’s colleagues in unusually harsh terms

A House Republican, in the midst of a primary fight, publicly slammed the “scumbags” in the House GOP conference — whom he proceeded to identify by name.


On a handful of key issues last year, Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas broke party ranks and balked at some far-right priorities. Many of his most radical colleagues took note: Last summer, members of the House Freedom Caucus said they were working on a plan to oust the Texas congressman in a primary race.

At least so far, those efforts haven’t succeeded, but the simmering tensions between Gonzales and his extremist colleagues haven’t gone away. USA Today reported:

Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, called some of his fellow lawmakers “scumbags” on Sunday as GOP infighting has reached new heights in the House. Gonzales, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” was asked whether he believes House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., will survive an effort to remove him from his leadership post. ... Gonzales had some sharp words to say about his colleagues: most notably, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.

Commenting specifically on the House speaker’s fate, the Texan said, in reference to right-wing hopes to oust Johnson, “He will survive. Look, the House is a rough and rowdy place, but Mike Johnson is going to be just fine.”

It was at that point that Gonzales turned his attention to some of GOP colleagues.

“I served 20 years in the military; it’s my absolute honor to be in Congress; but I serve with some real scumbags," Gonzales said. "Look, [Florida Republican] Matt Gaetz, he paid minors to have sex with them at drug parties. [Virginia Republican] Bob Good endorsed my opponent, a known neo-Nazi. These people used to walk around with white hoods at night; now they’re walking around with white hoods in the daytime.”

Part of what makes this rhetoric notable is the electoral context: Gonzales faced a few primary rivals in a race last month, and while the incumbent was the top vote-getter, the congressman fell short of the 50% threshold and will compete in a May 28 runoff primary.

He’s going to need support from Republican primary voters in his Texas district, but Gonzales was nevertheless candid — on the record and on national television — when denouncing members of his own party whom he considers “scumbags.”

But let’s also not lose sight of the intensifying divisions among GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Just over the last few weeks, for example, a variety of House Republicans have publicly accused colleagues from their own party of taking deliberate steps to help Russia prevail in a war against a U.S. ally. Many of those accused of such treachery are currently plotting to take down their party’s House speaker.

And it’s against this backdrop that a House Republican, in the midst of a primary fight, told CNN about the “scumbags” in the GOP conference — whom he proceeded to identify by name.

In recent months, Johnson has emphasized what he’s described as the need for Republican “unity” on Capitol Hill. How’s that working out?