kevin mccarthy
© Getty Images
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) dared critics within his own caucus to oust him from Republican leadership on Thursday.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy issued a profane challenge to critics from his own caucus to oust him Thursday, saying disgruntled members should go ahead and "file a f-king motion" to replace him.

"If you want to file a motion to vacate, then file a f-king motion," McCarthy (R-Calif.), 58, told GOP lawmakers during a closed-door meeting, Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) recounted to reporters after hard-right lawmakers threatened to remove the speaker for backing a new spending package that would avert a partial government shutdown.

House Republicans had gathered to discuss the newly approved impeachment inquiry against President Biden, as well as plans to pass a stopgap bill to keep the government fully funded before a Sept. 30 deadline.

"Sounds like @SpeakerMcCarthy is having a total normal one - not rattled at all," Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said on X, formerly known as Twitter. "Truth is Kevin controls his own fate."

The conservative added that "instead of emotionally cursing," the House speaker should agree to pass "[s]ingle-subject spending bills" rather than a single giant legislative package, hold votes on term limits and passing a balanced budget, release full security video footage of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot and subpoena first son Hunter Biden.

"Pull yourself together, Kevin!" Gaetz added.

McCarthy authorized three House Republican committee leaders to formally launch an impeachment inquiry into the president Tuesday over his alleged involvement in his son's business dealings.

The House speaker said Biden's actions amounted to "abuse of power, obstruction and corruption," as investigators have uncovered evidence of the president's Justice Department intervening in the investigation of Hunter and of the first family benefiting from influence-peddling overseas.

Biden, 80, said late Wednesday at a campaign event that House Republicans "want to shut down the government" with their impeachment push.

McCarthy has clashed with Gaetz since January, when it took 15 ballots for him to win the speakership after he made some concessions to House Freedom Caucus holdouts.

Gaetz, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) and Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) were the only Republicans to oppose McCarthy through the final ballot.

McCarthy was handed the gavel in exchange for agreements to cap spending at 2022 levels, allow for a single-vote motion to vacate his speakership and place more Freedom Caucus members on the House Rules Committee.

The House speaker again faced opposition from the most conservative members of his caucus in May over a bill to lift the nation's debt ceiling — which eventually passed without their support.

The Fiscal Responsibility Act passed the House in a 314-117 vote, with more Democrats than Republicans supporting the measure. At least 71 GOP lawmakers opposed the bill.

Over the weekend, Gaetz had questioned whether even some Democrats would be willing to help him oust McCarthy.

"Hi, Eric. If I make a motion to remove Kevin, how may [sic] democrat votes can I count on? Asking for a friend....," he asked Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) on X.

The hardline Florida Republican then proposed ousting McCarthy in a fiery floor speech on Monday.

"Mr. Speaker, you are out of compliance with the agreement that allowed you to assume this role. The path forward for the House of Representatives is to either bring you into immediate total compliance or remove you," Gaetz said.

On Wednesday, McCarthy accused the Florida Republican of "working with" Swalwell to undermine him.

"Matt is working with Eric Swalwell, but let me be very clear," McCarthy told CNN. "Matt is upset about an ethics complaint. I don't care what they threaten against me. I'm not gonna interject into an independent committee like Ethics, and I'm not going to put Swalwell back on the Intel Committee. So, they can do whatever they want."

The House Ethics Committee is investigating Gaetz for alleged sexual misconduct, illicit drug use, sharing inappropriate images on the House floor, misusing state identification records, inappropriately using campaign funds, bribery, and receiving impermissible gifts.

Gaetz has denied that the probe has any bearing on his actions.

"I am the most investigated man in the entire Congress, and right there you saw Kevin McCarthy lying like a dead dog because I have never asked him to interfere in any ethics matter," Gaetz told MSNBC, calling the speaker's remarks an "abject lie from a sad and pathetic man who lies to hold onto power."

Swalwell's own ethics investigation concluded in May, with no action taken by the committee over his suspected ties to Chinese spy Christine Fang.

McCarthy had already kicked Swalwell off the House Intelligence Committee over the allegations, saying he threatened "national security and oversight missions — ultimately leaving our nation less safe."