Mocking the recent party meeting in Orlando, the three-term congressman said: “I didn’t go to the Republican retreat because I feel like the Republicans have been in a constant state of retreat. I’m ready for an advance, not a retreat.”
He continued: “And they go to the retreat and basically the whole retreat is Kevin McCarthy fighting with Liz Cheney and I’m watching this thinking, why did they not listen to us like three, four months ago when we said this is not gonna work.”
Mr Gaetz, who spearheaded a failed effort in February to oust Ms Cheney from the House GOP leadership, added: “We knew that then. I’m glad our colleagues have caught up. Maybe we’re the leaders, Marjorie! They follow us!”
Ms Cheney is expected to be removed from her position for not embracing Donald Trump’s “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
On Monday, she tweeted: “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”
Instead of backing their conference chair, the GOP sided with the former president and his unfounded claims of electoral fraud.
While neither Ms Greene nor Mr Gaetz has endeared themselves to party leadership, both have raised extraordinary amounts of money since the beginning of the year by remaining fiercely loyal to former President Donald Trump.
In the first quarter of 2021, Mr Gaetz brought in $1.8m in donations and Ms Greene, in her first term in Congress, raised $3.2m. GOP leadership has leaned back towards embracing Trump loyalists in the hope of winning back Congress in 2022.
Ms Greene entered the House in January on a wave of controversy regarding her espousal of QAnon conspiracy theories and other controversial comments on social media.
She was soon stripped of committee assignments in a vote that saw 11 of her GOP colleagues side with the opposition.
Mr Gaetz is currently the subject of a federal investigation regarding an allegation that he had sex with an underage girl that was originally reported byThe New York Times. He denies the allegation.
The Justice Department began to investigate the congressman during the Trump administration. Mr Gaetz has remained defiant even as most Republicans have distanced themselves from him – Ms Greene being one exception.
Mr Gaetz has complained about the coverage of the scandal by the media and joked at Friday’s rally about how CNN, which he called “the worst”, would report on the event at the retirement community.
“Today is my birthday. And I already know how CNN’s gonna report it,” he said.
“‘Matt Gaetz has wild party surrounded by beautiful women in The Villages.’ So just get ready for it.”
He further complained about the media: “We have a right to confront our accusers in this country. How about that?”
“There can be no due process here if the only process due to conservative is to see leaks embroidered onto lies, then just endlessly repeated by the ‘America last’ media.”