October 3, 2023 -WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker Kevin McCarthy was voted out of the job Tuesday in an extraordinary showdown — a first in U.S. history, forced by a contingent of hard-right conservatives and throwing the House and its Republican leadership into chaos.
It’s the end of the political line for McCarthy, who has said repeatedly that he never gives up, but found himself with almost no options remaining. Neither the right-flank Republicans who engineered his ouster nor the Democrats who piled on seem open to negotiating.
McCarthy told lawmakers in the evening he would not run again for speaker, putting the gavel up for grabs. The next steps are highly uncertain as there is no obvious successor to lead the House Republican majority. Action is halted in the House until next week, when Republicans try to elect a new speaker.
“I may have lost this vote today, but as I walk out of this chamber I feel fortunate to have served,” McCarthy said at a press conference at the Capitol. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”
McCarthy’s chief rival, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, orchestrated the rare vote on the obscure “motion to vacate,” and pushed ahead swiftly into a dramatic afternoon roll call.
While McCarthy enjoyed support from most Republicans in his slim majority, eight Republican detractors — many of the same hard-right holdouts who tried to stop him from becoming speaker in January — essentially forced him out.