On Tuesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz’ (R-FL) motion to vacate the speakership succeeded — removing Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the position.
With a vote held by roll call in alphabetical order, the motion to remove McCarthy succeeded in passing by 216-210. Gaetz was joined in voting to remove him by Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Ken Buck (R-CO, Tim Burchett (R-TN), Eli Crane (R-AZ), Bob Good (R-VA), Nancy Mace (R-SC), Matt Rosendale (R-MT) and all House Democrats.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) attempted to prevent the vote by introducing a motion to table Gaetz’s motion, but it was rejected with the support of ten House Republicans. Cole claimed that ousting McCarthy would “plunge us into chaos.”
10 Republicans who voted against Speaker McCarthy:
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) October 3, 2023
Gaetz spoke out on the floor of the House about his decision to remove McCarthy — and later shared a clip of his speech on X, formerly known as Twitter. Gaetz was forced to speak from the Democrat side of the chamber for his speech, as McCarthy’s allies blocked the Republican microphones on the House floor.
“I take no lecture from those who would grovel and bend knee for the lobbyists and special interests who own our leadership, hollow out this town, and borrow against the future of our future generations,” he wrote in the post.
I take no lecture from those who would grovel and bend knee for the lobbyists and special interests who own our leadership, hollow out this town, and borrow against the future of our future generations.#MotionToVacate pic.twitter.com/PV52V5LVO2
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) October 3, 2023
Meanwhile, numerous supposedly conservative lawmakers spoke out in support of McCarthy.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) claimed that McCarthy has been “rock solid” as House Speaker — despite evidence to the contrary. He also falsely claimed that McCarthy had kept his word.
Rep. @Jim_Jordan: "We said the 118th Congress is about three things:
1. Pass the bills that need passed
2. Do the oversight work that needs to be done
3. Stop the omnibus that comes from the united States senate right before the holidays pic.twitter.com/hJy7ZKvazS
— Media Research Center (@theMRC) October 3, 2023
However, despite Jordan’s claims, it is clear that McCarthy has betrayed Republican voters and failed to keep his promises. Gaetz explained McCarthy’s betrayal on the House floor on Monday, just hours before introducing the motion to remove him.
“The speaker of the House gave away to Joe Biden the money for Ukraine that Joe Biden wanted. It is going to be difficult for my Republican friends to keep calling President Biden feeble while he continues to take Speaker McCarthy’s lunch money in every negotiation,” Gaetz said.
“So, for all the crocodile tears about what may happen later this week about a motion to vacate, working with the Democrats is a yellow brick road that has been paved by Speaker McCarthy. Whether it was the debt limit deal, the C.R. or now the secret deal on Ukraine,” he added.
“It is becoming increasingly clear who the speaker of the House already works for, and it’s not the Republican conference,” Gaetz continued. “Mr. Speaker, I would ask that these questions be answered soon because there may be other votes coming today or later this week that could be implicated by the answers to these questions. Members of the Republican Party might vote differently on a motion to vacate if they heard what the speaker had to share with us about his secret side deal with Joe Biden on Ukraine.”
Matt Gaetz representing Americans! Thank you! pic.twitter.com/lysVoSBNq2
— Gunther Eagleman™ (@GuntherEagleman) October 2, 2023
Gaetz further explained McCarthy’s failures during an appearance on the podcast “TimcastIRL” last month — where he called out the House Speaker for failing to keep his promise of passing single-subject spending bills and instead waited out the clock so that the House would be forced to pass another continuing resolution to narrowly avoid a government shutdown.
We cannot continue business as usual in Washington, D.C. by passing another continuing resolution.
We MUST pass single-subject spending bills! pic.twitter.com/Y6vyfZR2T2
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) September 22, 2023
Now that McCarthy has been removed from the speakership, the House is obligated to hold a vote for a new speaker. It is also possible that the House reelects McCarthy.