- Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced he will not run for House speaker again.
- McCarthy’s ouster was a result of a narrow vote with eight Republicans joining House Democrats.
- Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., triggered the motion to vacate McCarthy.
After being removed from the House speaker role, Kevin McCarthy announced his decision to reporters that he will not seek the position again.
“I may have lost the vote today, but as I walk out of this chamber, I feel fortunate to serve the American people. I leave the speakership with a sense of pride and accomplishment, and yes, optimism,” McCarthy expressed.
He conveyed his intent to serve in a different capacity and allow the conference to select another speaker.
Highlighting the eight Republicans who sided with House Democrats in the ouster vote, McCarthy said, “Unfortunately, 4% of our conference can join all the Democrats and dictate who could be the Republican speaker in this House.”
The announcement came during a notably brief GOP conference meeting on Tuesday evening.
Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., later described McCarthy as “shell shocked” and appearing “down.”
Nevertheless, Norman expressed optimism for the party’s future, stating, “This too shall pass. There will be somebody that steps up, and it’s a tremendous opportunity.”
Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., mentioned plans for a candidate forum on Tuesday and a subsequent vote for McCarthy’s successor on Wednesday.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., was identified as the catalyst for the motion to vacate McCarthy.
Responding to this, McCarthy labeled Gaetz’s actions as “personal,” suggesting it was a retaliation move for an ongoing Ethics Committee investigation.
“You all know Matt Gaetz. You know it was personal… It all was about getting attention from you,” McCarthy relayed.
He also pointed out fundraising emails from Gaetz, indicating, “I mean, we’re getting email fundraisers from him as he’s doing it… I’ve seen the text. It was all about his ethics, but that’s all right.”
The backdrop to this upheaval within the GOP involves disagreements over government funding. McCarthy’s decision to pass a short-term spending bill, or continuing resolution (CR), to stave off a government shutdown caused tension.
Ninety House Republicans voted against this CR, seeing it as an extension of previous Democrat-driven policies.
McCarthy’s earlier attempts for a spending-cut CR were thwarted by conservatives who fundamentally opposed such measures.
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