And everyone can lay the blame at the foot of Russian Chaos agent and teenage philanderer Matt Gaetz and the rest of the seditionists in Congress.
Kevin McCarthy made history Tuesday — becoming the first speaker of the House of Representatives to be ousted by a floor vote with the help of members of his own party.
Eight Republicans — Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Tim Burchett of Tennessee, Eli Crane of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Bob Good of Virginia, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, Matt Rosendale of Montana — banded together with a united Democrat conference to declare the office of speaker vacant by a vote of 216-210, removing McCarthy (R-Calif.) from power and thrusting the chamber into chaos as it faces a grinding process to pick his replacement.
The prospect of a revolt against McCarthy, 58, had been dangled for several months by Gaetz, his chief Republican antagonist.
Gaetz, 41, finally went ahead with the motion to vacate Monday night, after a weekend of stewing over the speaker’s decision to call up a stopgap spending bill to avoid a partial government shutdown — and rely on Democratic votes to get the measure through.
“If five Republicans go with Democrats, I’m out,” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday morning, before predicting: “I’m confident I’ll hold on.”
But the California’s demise became a matter of time when a motion to block Gaetz’s effort failed 218-208. Reps. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), Cory Mills (R-Fla.) and Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) voted against the motion to table, but to keep McCarthy in place.
However, with only 426 House members casting votes, McCarthy needed 214 supporters to keep his speakership.
The failed motion to table triggered one hour of debate between McCarthy’s supporters and opponents in the Republican party, with the latter group debating from the Democratic side of the House floor.
“We need a speaker who will fight for something, anything besides staying or becoming speaker,” declared Good, who assailed McCarthy for both the debt limit deal he reached with the Biden administration earlier this year and the maneuvering to avoid a shutdown.
“We need a speaker — ideally somebody who doesn’t want to be speaker and hasn’t pursued that at all costs for his entire adult life — who will meet the moment, and do everything possible to fight for the country.”
McCarthy’s ally, House Rules Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) followed Good with an impassioned defense of the former speaker.
“This is a very sad day, and certainly a day I never expected to have to live through,” Cole bemoaned.
“The overwhelming majority of my party supports the speaker that we elected. We’re proud of the leadership he’s shown,” he continued. “There’s a second group — a small group — honestly they’re willing to plunge this body into chaos.”
Gaetz later fired back at Cole, claiming that inaction on the nation’s financial woes was plunging the US into dire straits.
“The thing we have in common [is] Kevin McCarthy said something to all of us at one point or another that he didn’t really need and never intended to live up to,” Gaetz jabbed.
House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) ticked through many of the overtures McCarthy had made to members of the conference during his tenure.
“Now more than ever, the Republicans must unify the stakes are too high. We need to save our country, which is why this conference is proud to strongly support Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House,” she proclaimed.
“I would just say if this House of Representatives has exceeded all expectations. Then we definitely need higher expectations,” Gaetz shot back afterwards.
The sternest rebuke to Gaetz came from Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), a chief negotiator in the debt ceiling flap who admonished the Floridian for fundraising off the debacle.
“All of a sudden, my phone keeps sending text messages. Text messages saying ‘Hey, give me money … I filed the motion to vacate.’ Using official actions, official actions to raise money,” Graves fumed.
“It’s disgusting. It’s what’s disgusting about Washington,” he added.
Throughout his remarks, Gaetz was often peppered with audible moans and boos, at one point urging his colleagues to “boo all you want.”
The GOP rebels were bolstered by Democratic leadership, who announced hours before the vote that they had no interest in keeping McCarthy in control of the gavel.
A motion to vacate had never been successfully deployed in the House before, and had only been attempted once — in 1910 against then-Speaker Joseph Cannon (R-Ill.).
McCarthy’s speakership was always on shaky ground after the House needed four days and 15 ballots to elect him to the post back in January.
Since then, he had struggled to steer the bitterly divided Republican caucus through multiple showdowns with Democrats on the debt ceiling and government spending.
Ahead of the vote, McCarthy insisted that he would not offer any concessions to House Democrats in exchange for their support, telling reporters: “We’re in the majority. You don’t surrender.”