House ousts Kevin McCarthy as speaker in historic vote

House ousts Kevin McCarthy as speaker in historic vote
House ousts Kevin McCarthy as speaker in historic vote

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WASHINGTON — The US House of Representatives voted Tuesday to oust Kevin McCarthy as speaker – a historic moment that threatens to plunge House Republicans even further into chaos and turmoil.

The House will now need to elect a new speaker, but there is no clear alternative who would have the support needed to win the gavel. In the meantime, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina is the interim speaker.

No House speaker has ever before been ousted through the passage of a resolution to remove them.

The fight over the speakership marks a major escalation in tensions for a House GOP conference that has been mired in infighting — and it comes just days after McCarthy successfully engineered a last-minute bipartisan effort to avert a government shutdown.

The vote on the motion to vacate was 216-210 with eight Republicans voting to remove McCarthy from the speakership. All 208 Democrats present voted to remove McCarthy, along with eight Republicans

The Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy were: Andy Biggs, Ken Buck, Tim Burchett, Eli Crane, Matt Gaetz, Bob Good, Nancy Mace and Matt Rosendale.

The House will now need to elect a new speaker, but there is no clear alternative who would have the support needed to win the gavel.

No House speaker has ever before been ousted through the passage of a resolution to remove them.

Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina will now temporarily lead the House of Representatives after the speaker's position was vacated on Tuesday.

McHenry, who is a top ally of Kevin McCarthy, was appointed speaker pro tempore. His name was on a list McCarthy was required to give to the clerk in case of a vacancy.

The speaker pro tempore, which is the official title, can only recess the House, adjourn the chamber and recognize speaker nominations.

Meanwhile, Matt Gaetz, the leader of this coup against McCarthy, was swarmed by reporters as he left the Capitol.

Gaetz called McCarthy "a creature of the swamp" following his ouster as Speaker of the House.

"He has risen to power by collecting special interest money and redistributing that money in exchange for favors," Gaetz said Tuesday about McCarthy.

"We are breaking the fever and we should elect a speaker who is better."

Asked if he would now nominate Rep. Steve Scalise for speaker, Gaetz responded: "I think the world of Steve Scalise. I think he would make a phenomenal speaker."

GOP Rep. Garret Graves on Tuesday criticized Gaetz for using the vote to oust McCarthy as a means to fundraise for himself and not donating to fellow Republican lawmakers.

While speaking in defense of McCarthy on the House floor, Graves held up his phone to show fundraising emails Gaetz has sent in the lead up to announcing a motion to oust McCarthy.

“It’s disgusting,” Graves said.

The majority of House Republicans cheered Graves, as many are frustrated that Gaetz has focused on fundraising for himself and not donating to the team.

Gaetz responded by saying, “I take no lecture on asking patriotic Americans to weigh in and contribute to this fight.”

He went on to accuse House Republicans of being owned by lobbyists and special interests, which elicited boos from other Republicans.

One source pointed out to CNN that Gaetz has only given about $85,000 to the House Republican campaign arm since he was elected and hasn’t given anything in the 2022 or 2024 cycle.

GOP Rep. Bob Good, one of 11 House Republicans to support a vote to oust McCarthy, said, “We need a speaker, who will fight something, anything besides just staying or becoming speaker.”

McCarthy's ally, House Rules Chairman Tom Cole, described McCarthy’s opponents as “a small group honestly, they’re willing to plunge this body into chaos and this country into uncertainty for reasons that only they understand. I certainly don’t.”

Gaetz, who is leading the effort against McCarthy, responded to Cole by saying, “Chaos is Speaker McCarthy. Chaos is somebody who we cannot trust with their word.”

Another McCarthy ally, Rep. Tom Emmer, argued that “now it’s time to stand together stronger than ever so we can get back to the work our majority was elected to do. I’m proud to support the speaker.”

House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, who walks the line of being part of the far-right House Freedom Caucus but also a McCarthy ally, said “Kevin McCarthy has been rock solid.” — CNN


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