In a startling turn of events, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced his decision not to seek re-election as House speaker after a historic vote led to his ousting. Following a closed-door meeting with GOP lawmakers, McCarthy declared his intention to let the Republican conference choose his successor, marking the end of his nine-month tenure as the House speaker.
The unprecedented move came after Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a conservative critic, forced a vote to remove McCarthy as speaker, citing dissatisfaction with McCarthy’s handling of negotiations over government funding. McCarthy’s defiance in the face of this challenge, vowing to fight for the government’s functioning and the welfare of military personnel and border agents, was met with his removal from the speakership.
The House voted to vacate McCarthy’s speakership, with Democrats aligning with conservatives in favor of the motion. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., assumed the role of acting speaker temporarily, while House Republicans plan to convene a forum to discuss potential candidates for the speakership.
McCarthy, who had become speaker in January, faced an uphill battle amid internal party conflicts. Despite his attempts to assuage conservatives, the dynamics within the GOP led to this historic vote. His departure signifies a pivotal moment in the Republican leadership, prompting discussions about the party’s future direction and the challenges it faces in maintaining unity within its ranks.