House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted from his position Tuesday afternoon. Eight Republicans and all Democrats present voted to remove McCarthy.
“The office of speaker of the House of the United States House of Representatives is hereby declared vacant,” Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., who was presiding over the House chamber, said following the vote.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., on Monday night introduced a motion to remove McCarthy, telling press, “I have enough Republicans where at this point next week, one of two things will happen: Kevin McCarthy won’t be the speaker of the House or he’ll be the speaker of the House working at the pleasure of the Democrats.”
McCarthy addressed the vote in a CNBC interview earlier Tuesday, saying, “I made a decision to take a risk to keep the government open,” and noting that the government remaining open allowed the troops and border agents to be paid.
“That’s a fight worth fighting for,” he added. “I’ve always said I will fight for the American public, and that’s exactly what I did, and I’ll continue to do that, and let the chips fall where they may.”
Republican Reps. Andy Biggs and Eli Crane of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Tim Burchett of Tennessee, Bob Good of Virginia, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, and Matt Rosendale of Montana joined Gaetz in voting to remove McCarthy as speaker. The final vote was 216-210 to oust McCarthy.
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., has temporarily taken on the role as speaker and is overseeing the chamber. NBC News is reporting that House Republicans will hold a closed door meeting at 6:30 p.m. to discuss what happens next.
Asked if he would run for speaker following the vote, Gaetz said “no.”
“It’s to the benefit of this country that we have a better speaker of the House than Kevin McCarthy,” Gaetz said while speaking to press outside the Capitol. “Kevin McCarthy couldn’t keep his word. He made an agreement in January regarding the way Washington would work and he violated that agreement,” Gaetz said.
Asked by a reporter after the vote if his action would slow down the House’s move to get a budget done, Gaetz said, “What’s paralyzed the House of Representatives has been the failure of Speaker McCarthy.”
“What paralyzed the House of Representatives was not taking up appropriation bills—we left for a six-week vacation while the appropriations process hung in the balance, and because I forced these people to take a few votes, you think I’m paralyzing the House of Representatives?” he continued, adding:
I think the House of Representatives has been paralyzed for the last several decades as we’ve refused to pass a budget, as we’ve governed by continuing resolution and omnibus bill. So I think that this represents the ripping off of the Band-Aid and that’s what we need to do to get back on track.
McCarthy did not talk to press following the vote.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., defended McCarthy ahead of the vote Tuesday, writing on X, formerly Twitter, that McCarthy “can not only be credited for delivering this Republican majority but has also delivered on his commitments to the American people. He had my full support in January, & he has my full support now.”
Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan defended McCarthy on the House floor, telling his colleagues McCarthy “has kept his word. I think we should keep him as speaker.”
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