Trump allies Matt Gaetz and Steve Bannon slammed Kevin McCarthy during an appearance at CPAC.
Gaetz said he did not think McCarthy should lead the GOP if he stood for "the establishment."
Bannon said Jim Jordan should be fill the role, to raucous cheers from the crowd.
Rep. Matt Gaetz hit out at House Minority Leader and fellow Trump loyalist Kevin McCarthy during a conversation with Steve Bannon at CPAC on Saturday, saying the latter should not lead the GOP.
In response, Gaetz said a GOP-led Congress would investigate the origins of COVID-19 and allegations of voter fraud. He went on to hit out at McCarthy's leadership of the party.
"If anyone posits to be the leader of our party and our movement, they cannot stand for the swamp, and the establishment, and the bureaucratic permanent state," Gaetz said. "They have to stand with us in exposing these issues. And if Kevin McCarthy will not allow us to be able to find out the answers, he should not be the leader of the Republican conference."
Bannon nodded before asking the crowd: "What do you think about that?"
"Do we want Jim Jordan?" Bannon asked the crowd, positing that Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan could be McCarthy's replacement.
Jordan was one of McCarthy's opponents for speaker in 2018. It's unclear if he still has such ambitions; he said in 2020 that he would support McCarthy for speaker in 2022 if the GOP gets its majority back in the House.
Representatives for Jordan and McCarthy did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.
A growing chasm
These comments reflect a schism that has been growing for months in the GOP.
GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert fired a warning shot of her own at McCarthy on Saturday. In a speech at CPAC, Boebert said members of the GOP leadership who did not work with her on issues like "securing the Southern border" would not have her support for re-election or the role of speaker.
"We will not tolerate another GOP speaker that works with Democrats more than Republicans," she said.
In November, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said she did not think McCarthy had the votes to be the speaker.
"I can't respect leadership that doesn't hold people accountable, yet allows people like me, Paul Gosar, to be constantly trampled on and abused, and then will throw us under the bus at the first given chance. I'm really sick of it," Greene said during an episode of Gaetz's "Firebrand" podcast.
In February 2021, members of Congress voted to strip Greene of her committee assignments. Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, too, lost his seats on both the House Oversight and Natural Resource committees in November after he tweeted a violent anime video that depicted him killing Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The GOP divide grew even wider in April, when audio was leaked of McCarthy telling House GOP members on January 10, 2021, that he was going to urge Trump to resign following the Capitol riot. Gaetz at the time slammed the California lawmaker for his comments, and several days later hinted that he would support Jordan for GOP leader over McCarthy. As recently as June, Gaetz was still pushing the idea of Jordan as the leader of a GOP-led Congress.
Bannon is also not the first conservative media figure to call out McCarthy. In April, Fox News host Tucker Carlson called him a "puppet of the Democratic Party" who "in private, sounds like an MSNBC contributor."
McCarthy has continually faced criticism about his leadership from Trump, too. In November, Trump claimed Republicans could have stayed in power if McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had "fought harder."
In June, Trump endorsed McCarthy for re-election, calling him "strong and fearless."
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