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Johnson fundraises for House Republican who called Matt Gaetz, Bob Good 'scumbags'

PoliticsJohnson fundraises for House Republican who called Matt Gaetz, Bob Good 'scumbags'

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is in the middle of yet another intraparty conflict within the House GOP after showing support for one of his vulnerable incumbents on Tuesday.

Johnson was in San Antonio this week for a campaign fundraiser held by Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, who is facing a primary challenger backed by members of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and their allies.

It came days after Gonzales infuriated the GOP rebel group when he called two of his colleagues, House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good, R-Va., and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., “scumbags” and compared them to Klansmen in a stunning CNN interview over the weekend.

“It’s my absolute honor to be in Congress, but I serve with some real scumbags like Matt Gaetz. He paid minors to have sex with him at drug parties. Bob Good endorsed my opponent, a known neo-Nazi,” Gonzales said. “These people used to walk around with white hoods at night. Now they’re walking around with white hoods in the daytime.”

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A split image of Speaker Mike Johnson and Rep. Tony Gonzales

House Speaker Mike Johnson, left, campaigned for Rep. Tony Gonzales days after he called a pair of fellow GOP lawmakers “scumbags.” (Getty Images)

The allegations against Gaetz, which he denies, were the subject of a federal probe that prosecutors ultimately decided not to move forward with.

Gaetz and Good’s allies seized on the comments and, soon after, on Johnson’s plan to appear with Gonzales.

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It is part of the continued fallout from the House passing Johnson’s $95 billion foreign aid plan for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific. Johnson’s plan got wide bipartisan support but angered a rebellious faction of House GOP lawmakers who feel increasingly sidelined by Johnson as he navigates critical legislation with a historically slim majority.

Johnson’s campaign events are typically planned well in advance, but the backlash to this recent stop shows the historic division that’s plagued the House GOP for much of this Congress.

Matt Gaetz

Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of the two lawmakers targeted by Rep. Tony Gonzales, lodged multiple attacks against both him and House Speaker Mike Johnson on X. (Aaron Schwartz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“I’m just beside myself that that’s where things are. And I don’t mind saying it, but I’m going to be very clear. I’m being attacked. Conservatives are being attacked. Bob Good, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus is being attacked by Tony. He said that he’s a Klansman,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said on local radio station KTSA. 

Gonzales’ opponent, pro-Second Amendment social media personality Brandon Herrera, responded to Gonzales’ comments on X on Sunday shortly after the congressman’s interview. “He has to cry to his liberal friends about me, because Republicans won’t listen anymore,” Herrera wrote.

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Gaetz accused Gonzales of “laundering lies on CNN” and pointed out that Gonzales was censured last year by the Texas GOP for his support of gun control measures in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting, which occurred in Gonzales’ district, where 19 elementary school students and two teachers were murdered by an 18-year-old with an AR-15.

On Wednesday morning, Gaetz mocked Johnson and Gonzales with a photo from the event and accused them of having “briefed donors in Texas about their hard work to secure the border……of Ukraine.”

Bob Good

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good was also named by Rep. Tony Gonzales. (Getty Images)

A source familiar with Johnson’s campaign plans told Fox News Digital that the event with Gonzales was a longstanding stop that was part of a wider campaign season swing through Texas.

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Gonzales wrote on X of the fundraiser, “Proud to host an incredible crowd for our Fiesta luncheon! Thank you to Speaker Johnson for attending and being a champion for the issues that impact.”

Fox News Digital reached out to Gonzales’ campaign for comment on the GOP rebel-led backlash but did not immediately hear back. Fox News Digital reached out to Good’s campaign as well.

When reached for further comment by Fox News Digital, Gaetz listed off what conservatives say are Johnson’s legislative shortfalls, including the bipartisan government funding deal, renewal of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and his support of Gonzales.

“Speaker Johnson has undergone a metamorphosis that would make the monarch butterfly blush,” he said.

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