Gaetz suggests alliance between ‘Squad’ and populists on anti-war measures

"While we disagree strongly on a variety of issues, I think there should be greater connectivity between the anti-war right and the anti-war left," said Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

(Daily Caller News Foundation) — Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida suggested greater collaboration between left-wing Democrats and populist Republicans in the House on foreign policy measures in a recent interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Speaking after his War Powers measure, H. Con. Res. 30 — which would remove U.S. troops from Somalia — was rejected by a 219-vote margin in the House of Representatives on April 27, Gaetz said that he appreciated the contributions of several Democrats who backed his bill, including members of “the Squad,” a group of left-wing lawmakers that he has criticized in the past. He spoke of the need for greater linkages between populist Republicans and the Left to remove U.S. troops from foreign deployments.

“While we disagree strongly on a variety of issues, I think there should be greater connectivity between the anti-war right and the anti-war left,” said Gaetz, naming Democratic Reps. Ro Khanna, Jamaal Bowman, and Ilhan Omar as his advisers on his recent measure. “I am grateful for the advice that I’ve gotten from [them on] war powers bills,” he said. He declined to say whether the two camps would unite to form a formal caucus in the House.

The mention of Omar as a confidant on a foreign policy issue comes despite Gaetz’s earlier positions. In February of this year, Gaetz voted “Yea” to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the chamber’s chief panel on foreign policy issues, for statements that were antisemitic and trivialized the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, according to the text of the resolution.

“I wish more of the Democratic caucus shared the views of people like Ro Khanna on foreign policy,” he added. Khanna, a self-described progressive representing parts of the San Francisco Bay Area in Congress, has repeatedly called for ending “forever wars” and limiting the use of U.S. military forces abroad.

Still, Gaetz’s views, while gaining the support of some Democrats, remain broadly opposed in both parties — especially within his own conference, with 165 GOP members voting against the resolution. Gaetz described this broad opposition as an alliance of “neo-conservatives and pro-war liberals … using the 2001 AUMF to justify a continued troop presence,” referring to the Joint Resolution passed by Congress after 9/11 giving presidents the authority to use military force against those responsible for the attacks. Gaetz named Republican Reps. Mike McCaul and John James as leading opponents of his position.

Gaetz did not answer questions from the DCNF about whether he supported repealing the AUMF or would bring a vote to the floor, though he criticized it as “a global permission slip for U.S. intervention.”

It remains unclear how much support Gaetz will win for his efforts. His resolutions to remove troops from Syria and Somalia were rejected by consistent margins and he has not introduced legislation in this Congress to reform the 2001 AUMF.

“I sometimes feel as though I’m waging a forever war against forever wars,” he said.


Arjun Singh