In the battle of I Dare You To Call My Bluff under the House GOP Clown Show Big Top, GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz gets the last laugh as Kevin McCarthy's speakership goes down in infamy and up in flames.
Kevin McCarthy will not run for speaker again after the House ousted him from the top leadership post in a historic vote on Tuesday, a move that threatens to plunge House Republicans into even further chaos and turmoil.
The House will now need to elect a new speaker. There is no clear alternative to McCarthy who would have the support needed to win the gavel, but the race for a potential successor is already underway.
The vote to oust McCarthy and his decision not to run for the speakership again 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. No House speaker has ever before been ousted through the passage of a resolution to remove them.
“I don’t regret standing up for choosing governing over grievance. It is my responsibility. It is my job. I do not regret negotiating. Our government is designed to find compromise,” McCarthy said at a wide-ranging press conference Tuesday evening.
McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju he “might” endorse a successor and did not say whether he would remain in Congress. “I’ll look at that,” he said when asked.
A number of House Republicans are said to be considering jumping into the race for speaker. It’s a scramble as House Republicans do not have a plan nor are they unified behind a candidate.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who has been the No. 2 Republican, has started reaching out to members about a potential speakership bid, according to a source familiar.
Immediately following the vote, GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry, a top McCarthy ally, was named interim speaker and the House went into recess as Republicans scrambled to find a path forward. The House is expected to stay out of session for the rest of the week, and Republicans are expected to hold a speaker candidate forum in a week.
The effort to oust the speaker was led by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz and comes as a bloc of hardline conservatives continued to rebel against McCarthy, voting against key priorities of GOP leadership and repeatedly throwing up roadblocks to the speaker’s agenda.
A few observances:
Our old friend The Odious Patrick McHenry is now in charge of the circus, but I don't see how anyone has the votes for Speaker right now. Maybe that changes next week, or maybe McHenry stays because nobody else wants the job. It's all off the map now.
Hell, it may take 45 days to come up with a Speaker. Democrats need to point this out on a daily basis: the House GOP is full of children who are going to destroy the country if they are allowed to continue. This chaos will continue until Republicans are removed from power.
Finally, I'm almost impressed that McCarthy made it this far. I honestly thought he was going to be ousted after the debt ceiling mess, but Gaetz and company chickened out. They didn't this time. As I predicted, the shutdown was avoided, and McCarthy is gone. At this point all other bets are off.