HISTORIC REBUKE: McCarthy Ousted As House Speaker As Democrats Join With GOP Critics To Topple Him

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks to reporters after a closed-door meeting with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and other House Republicans after Gaetz filed a motion to oust McCarthy from his leadership role, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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. 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.

Stillness fell as the presiding officer gaveled the vote closed, 216-210, saying the office of the speaker “is hereby declared vacant.”

Moments later, a top McCarthy ally, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., took the gavel and, according to House rules, was named speaker pro tempore, to serve in the office until a new speaker is chosen.
The House then briskly recessed as lawmakers prepared to meet privately and discuss the path forward.

It was a stunning moment for McCarthy, a punishment fueled by growing grievances but sparked by his weekend decision to work with Democrats to keep the federal government open rather than risk a shutdown.

But in many ways, McCarthy’s ouster was set in motion when, in deal-making with hard-right holdouts at the start of the year, he agreed to a series of demands — including a rules change that allowed any single lawmaker to file the motion to vacate.

As the House fell silent, Gaetz, a top ally of Donald Trump, rose to offer his motion.
Leaders tried to turn it back, but the vote was 218-208, with 11 Republicans against tabling the motion, a sign of trouble to come.

The House then opened a floor debate, unseen in modern times, and Republicans argued publicly among themselves for more than an hour.

“It’s a sad day,” Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma said as debate got underway, urging his colleagues not to plunge the House Republican majority “into chaos.”
But Gaetz shot back during the debate, “Chaos is Speaker McCarthy.”

As the fiery debate dragged on, many of the complaints against the speaker revolved around his truthfulness and his ability to keep the promises he has made.

Almost alone, Gaetz led his side of the floor debate, criticizing the debt deal McCarthy made with President Joe Biden and the vote to prevent a government shutdown, which conservatives opposed as they demanded steeper spending cuts.

But a long line of McCarthy supporters stood up for him, including Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a leader of the conservative Freedom Caucus, who said, “He has kept his word.” Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., waved his cellphone, saying it was “disgusting” that hard-right colleagues were fundraising off the move in text messages seeking donations.

McCarthy, of California, insisted he would not cut a deal with Democrats to remain in power — not that he could have relied on their help even if he had asked.

Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said in a letter to colleagues that he wants to work with Republicans, but he was unwilling to provide the votes needed to save McCarthy.

“It is now the responsibility of the GOP members to end the House Republican Civil War,” Jeffries said, announcing the Democratic leadership would vote for the motion to oust the speaker.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden “hopes the House will quickly elect a Speaker.” Once that happens, she said, “he looks forward to working together with them.”

At the Capitol, both Republicans and Democrats met privately ahead of the historic afternoon vote.

Behind closed doors, McCarthy told fellow Republicans: Let’s get on with it.

McCarthy invoked Republican Speaker Joseph Cannon, who more than 100 years ago confronted his critics head-on by calling their bluff and setting the vote himself on his ouster. Cannon survived that takedown attempt, which was the first time the House had actually voted to consider removing its speaker. A more recent threat, in 2015, didn’t make it to a vote.

Gaetz was in attendance, but he did not address the room.

Across the way in the Capitol, Democrats lined up for a long discussion and unified around one common point: McCarthy cannot be trusted, several lawmakers in the room said.

“I think it’s safe to say there’s not a lot of good will in that room for Kevin McCarthy,” said Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass.

“At the end of the day, the country needs a speaker that can be relied upon,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. “We don’t trust him. Their members don’t trust him. And you need a certain degree of trust to be the speaker.”

Removing the speaker launches the House Republicans into chaos. Typically, top leaders would be next in line for the job, but Majority Leader Steve Scalise is battling cancer and Majority Whip Tom Emmer, like any potential candidate, may have trouble securing the vote. Another leading Republican, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, is also a Trump ally.

“No matter who is going to be the speaker, the challenges still remain,” Scalise said. “But I think the opportunity is there to continue moving forward.”

Asked if he was physically up to the job, Scalise said, “I feel great.”

It took McCarthy himself 15 rounds in January over multiple days of voting before he secured the support from his colleagues to gain the gavel.

Trump, the former president who is the Republican front-runner in the 2024 race to challenge Biden, complained about the chaos. “Why is it that Republicans are always fighting among themselves,” he asked on social media.

Asked about McCarthy’s ouster as he exited court in New York, where he is on trial for business fraud, Trump did not respond.

One key McCarthy ally, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who is also close with Trump, took to social media urging support for “our speaker.”

Republicans left the chamber in a daze, totally uncertain about next steps. “I honestly don’t know,” said Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz. “This is a total disaster.”
Many had lined up to hug McCarthy, some to shake his hand.

Democrats, who have bristled at McCarthy’s leadership — cajoling them one minute, walking away from deals the next — said they were just holding back, waiting for Republicans to figure out how to run the House.

Rep, Don Bacon, R-Neb., the leader of a centrist group, said the only option was to leave the eight hardliners behind and try to work across the aisle. “We’re going to stay with Kevin,” he said. “He told us earlier he’ll never quit.”

But McCarthy made it clear Tuesday night that he would not try to win back the job.



  1. “If Biden were a Yid, he would have to make a “shechiyanu”.

    It may come as a shock, but even some with Milah are also making a shechiyanu.

    McCarthy conceded so much authority to a handful of right-wing nutcases just to get the votes he need to be speaker, that he rendered the House dysfunctional with 5 individuals dictating outcomes to 215 Republicans and 214 Dems. You can hold whatever opinion you many have of Pelosi’s or Jeffries’ policies, but they have effectively shown how to keep a highly diverse caucus together and voting as a block.

  2. The Republicans are, as a group, bigger idiots than the Democrats. Think about it. Some influential Dems recognize value (to them) in wreaking havoc in the GOP Congress, and they get 100% of the Dems to vote in favor of ousting McCarthy. The Republicans, on the other hand, can only muster 8-9 votes. As Trump succinctly put it in a post on Truth-Social, why can’t the GOP stop fighting amongst themselves and instead fight the radical left that is destroying our country?

    A bunch of morons. This country is so over…

  3. The US has learned well from Israel; it’s “either my way or the highway.” Whatever happened to legislators being mindful of the country which they serve (and employs them)? All that seems to matter is “getting the other guy.” The extremes of both parties are to blame; there used to be a time that representatives of both sides would be able to negotiate to a position wherein everyone gains and everyone loses something. That’s democracy!

  4. McCarthy made commitments when he was elected speaker, and he did not keep them. If he were allowed to get away with it then such promises would become meaningless, and people would make them without any intention whatsoever of keeping them, just like presidents do with campaign promises (“Lock her up”, anyone?). So sooner or later this had to be done; the only question is whether this was the right time to do it. Time will tell.

    McCarthy is not yet out of the game; he says he won’t run, but that doesn’t stop the party from drafting him. And maybe he should be. But if he does return he will have learned a lesson that his promises have to mean something. And if not, his successor will have learned the same lesson.

  5. The GOP is dysfunctional because they have utterly lost their way. They used to stand for conservative values such as law and order, a strong police force, support of our troops, a strong foreign policy, against communists and dictators standing with our allies promoting democracy around the world.

    Todays MAGA republicans are exactly the opposite! They are against law and order, they want to defund the FBI they threaten violence against anyone that stands in their way, they don’t care that their leader Trump was indicted on 91 counts in 4 separate jurisdictions by 4 separate prosecutors and as found by a judge to have committed fraud and found by a jury to be an abuser, they still back him so that shows they couldn’t care less about law and order.
    Support of our troops? How about Trump calling for the execution of the chairman of the Joint chiefs of staff? How about Trump disparaging troops who are killed or wounded in combat!
    Strong foreign policy? sure like withdrawing from NATO and becoming buddy buddy with Kim Jung Un and Putin. Trusting and believing Putin more than the US intelligence agency’s, these are the hallmarks of a great foreign policy the GOP today stands for. That’s why the GOP has devolved into utter chaos.

  6. @gadol your information is so dead wrong
    Kevin McCarthy gave no more power away than any speaker beside for Nancy Pelosi
    Nancy Pelosi was the first speaker in history that took away the right for one member of Congress to force a vote for removal of speaker.
    The twenty hardliners, who, in the beginning made all these conditions for McCarthy, made one of the conditions be that the speaker is no longer as powerful as Nancy Pelosi made it.
    That being said I do agree with Nancy Pelosi that one member of Converse should not be able to waste the entire week on such frivolous activity, such as this week will show.

  7. With the Republican party split, perhaps permanently, it means the Democrats are now the plurality party in the House, and thanks to the group that is splitting off from the Republicans, the Democrats already control the Senate. The best we can hope for now is a “coalition” that leaves someone to the right of Hakim Jeffires as Speaker. If the Republicans stay disunited, it almost guarantees that by 2025 there will be WOKE government ruling the United States (bad for Yidden, bad for Israel, bad for America in general).

  8. “As Democrats Join With GOP Critics.”

    Did you expect the Democrats to vote FOR the speaker??? Where’s the saychil here?

    I’m happy they did this. McCarthy made promises that he didn’t keep.

  9. “big choosid” (I assume that name is ironic):

    Yes, MAGA Republicans are for law and order. That’s why they want to defund the FBI, which is now exposed as a criminal organization that has for decades worked to undermine every Republican president, and especially the most recent one. For the sake of law and order it must be disbanded and replaced with a new organization that stands a chance of being free of corruption, at least for a while.

    They do NOT threaten violence against anyone that stands in their way. You are confusing them with their opponents. Political violence in America is almost exclusively the domain of the left, which has exercised it for longer than any of us have been alive. For the first time, such groups as the Proud Boys are attempting, however weakly, to stand up for themselves.

    Indeed “they don’t care that their leader Trump was indicted on 91 counts in 4 separate jurisdictions by 4 separate prosecutors and as found by a judge to have committed fraud and found by a jury to be an abuser.” Why should they care about any of that? They’d care if he were guilty of any serious crime, but no honest person thinks that the fact of his indictments indicates that he’s done anything wrong. We Jews know very well that our enemies can accuse us of all kinds of terrible crimes, but it speaks only about them, not about us.. Law and order is about what actually happens, not about institutions and the actions of corrupt prosecutors and judges.

    And yes, MAGA Republicans support our troops? Milley spent his career undermining our troops, so anyone who supports them must oppose him. And the fact is that he made the Chinese a promise that, if he meant it, would be actual literal treason, and if he were to have kept it he would have deserved execution. That is all Trump ever said about him. He did NOT call for his execution! (Not that there is anything wrong with calling for someone’s execution, after a fair trial of course. But Trump didn’t make such a call.)

    And no, Trump never disparaged troops who were killed or wounded in combat. What he did do was paraphrase George Patton’s famous line that the object of war is not to die for your country but to make the enemy die for his.

    Trump certainly had a strong foreign policy, far stronger than those of his predecessor and his successor. It was Trump, not 0bama or Biden, who succeeded in making our NATO allies commit themselves to it rather than relying on us to defend them. It was Trump who made foreign leaders respect and fear him, and negotiate with him in good faith, while 0bama and Biden have actively colluded with our enemies against us, and caused foreign leaders to hold us in contempt.

    That Putin is more believable than the US intelligence agencies is a sad but true fact. Trump was not wrong to acknowledge it rather than pretend it away.

    So no, for all Trump’s numerous flaws, and for all the MAGA movement’s flaws, there is no change in the Republican Party.