In a surprising turn of events, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy hinted at the possibility of vying for the speakership role once more, despite his recent removal and earlier statements indicating he wouldn’t seek the position again.
On Capitol Hill this Monday, McCarthy unveiled a detailed five-point strategy to address the recent aggressive actions by Hamas against Israel. When questioned about the potential of another bid for the speakership, McCarthy responded, “This is about a moment in time. This is about what America’s going to do.” He further emphasized that the decision rests with the conference, stating, “Whether I’m speaker or not, I’m a member of this body. I know what history has had, and I can lead in any position it is.”
McCarthy’s removal from the speakership last Tuesday, in a 216-210 vote, marked a historic moment as it was the first instance of a speaker being ousted through a motion to vacate. This move was spearheaded by Representative Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) and seven other House Republicans, driven by McCarthy’s last-minute spending agreement with Democrats to prevent a government shutdown.
Addressing the situation, McCarthy remarked, “Can you imagine if we were sitting here and listened further to a [Representative Matt] Gaetz and [Representative Nancy] Mace that we were going to shut down as we asked our 30,000 men and women in the military in the Middle East to defend us without being paid?”
The ongoing conflict in Israel has intensified the pressure on the House as they deliberate on a successor. Currently, GOP Representative Patrick McHenry is serving as the speaker pro tempore.
However, sources familiar with the matter informed National Review that there’s a consensus among the House Republicans responsible for McCarthy’s removal: they won’t back any attempts to reinstate him as speaker, even during this crisis.
Representative Nancy Mace (R., S.C.), who was part of the group that voted against McCarthy, confirmed she wouldn’t support his return. She cited a CBS News poll indicating that a majority of Americans were in favor of McCarthy’s ouster, stating, “The most popular thing Congress has done since Kevin McCarthy became speaker was vacate him. The swamp wants him, but the American people don’t. I’m on the right side of history.”
In the backdrop of the Israel crisis, McCarthy emphasized the urgency of the situation, particularly after the terrorist attack over the weekend that claimed the lives of nine U.S. citizens in Israel. He urged for immediate action, emphasizing the need to rescue American hostages and calling for a firm stance against any harm to Americans abroad. “President Biden’s number one priority right now must be finding out how many Americans have been taken hostage and get them home,” he said. He also advised that there should be no repeat of what happened in Afghanistan, no negotiation with terrorists, and no Americans left behind.
McCarthy also criticized the Biden administration’s policies, urging an end to appeasement and calling for a stronger stance against Iran. He further advocated for the U.S. to prioritize its energy independence and criticized the intelligence community for failing to anticipate the recent attacks. Concluding his remarks, McCarthy took a stand against anti-Semitism, urging fellow Congress members to condemn it unequivocally.