Rogers Considered Leaving Key Committee After Gaetz Conflict

The shape of the new House majority is beginning to emerge in the aftermath of the tense and sometimes combative election process that took 15 ballots before Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was sworn in last Friday night. The conflict led Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) to strongly consider stepping down from a key GOP committee position.

In the moments before McCarthy was finally voted in as Speaker by a majority of House members, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) became the focal point of controversy among Republicans. Gaetz had been one of the leaders of the GOP holdouts against McCarthy’s candidacy last week.

A video clip from the House floor on Friday night has gone viral in the days since. It shows Rogers had to be physically restrained by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) when he appeared to be preparing to accost Gaetz in his seat.

Rogers initially appeared to have decided to forfeit his place on the influential Republican Steering Committee as a result of the outburst. The Steering Committee determines the appointments to all House committees party members will receive.

Politico reported that two House members confirmed that Rogers would step down from the Steering Committee. Olivia Beavers reported on Monday: “He confirmed it with me this AM and said it will happen later this week. The region members will have to elect a new representative.”

Beavers also said Rogers told her that “he is doing this of his own accord, no one is encouraging him to take this step.”

Since the Friday incident, Rogers and Gaetz have expressed respect for each other and called for civility going forward. The two are expected to serve together on the House Armed Services Committee, with Rogers slated to be the chair.

Rogers tweeted Sunday that he and Gaetz “have a long and productive working relationship, that I am sure will continue.

“I regret that I briefly lost my temper on the House Floor Friday evening and appreciate Matt’s kind understanding,” he added.

For his part, Gaetz dismissed the incident, saying he and Rogers are “going to work together wonderfully going forward.”

Gaetz added: “I don’t think there should be any punishment or reprisal just because he had an animated moment. He has my forgiveness.”

After the two reconciled, Rogers said that he had decided to remain on the Steering Committee.

He told reporters later on Monday: “I have been surprised that an overwhelming number of members, both rank and file and leadership, have urged me to stay on Steering. Consequently, I plan to remain on Steering for the balance of this Congress.”