On Tuesday, US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted by hard-right members of his own Republican party less than a year after his election.
It is the first time in US history that a speaker of the House has been removed from office. McCarthy said Tuesday night that he would not run for speaker again, clearing the way for a new Republican speaker if the party members can reach a consensus.
The Californian Republican lost a no-confidence vote by 216-210 after hardliners in his party voted against him following his deal with Senate Democrats to fund government agencies.
The vote to oust McCarthy followed a motion to vacate the chair from the Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, a Donald Trump ally.
He accused the Speaker of making a secret deal with the White House to continue funding for Ukraine amid negotiations to avert a partial government shutdown during the weekend.
McCarthy dismissed the eight Republicans who voted against him, saying: “This country is too great for small visions of those eight.” He called them “individuals” who were not “looking to be productive.”
Who voted to oust McCarthy as US House Speaker
Eight Republicans voted against McCarthy: Reps. Eli Crane (Arizona), Ken Buck (Colorado), Andy Biggs (Arizona), Matt Rosendale (Montona), Matt Gaetz (Florida), Bob Good (Virginia), Nancy Mace (South Carolina) and Tim Burchett (Tennessee).
After McCarthy’s Republican allies failed to block the motion from moving forward, a final vote was held. Congressman Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina Republican, was designated as the acting speaker until a new House leader is elected.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that President Joe Biden is hoping the House will quickly elect a new Speaker, noting that the “challenges facing our nation will not wait.”
CNN says that McCarthy’s short speakership underscored how the Republican Party in the age of Donald Trump has turned into one of the great forces of instability in American life.
McCarthy was no moderate and did little to check the GOP’s turn away from democracy. But his defeat came at the hands of far-right rebels who he asserted last week want to “burn the whole place down.” CNN Analyst Stephen Collinson notes that this was a rather eloquent commentary on his party.
“His political assassins, led by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, toppled their leader with no plan for what comes next—leaving a hugely important wing of the US government paralyzed for at least a week,” he added.