(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Rep. Matt Gaetz’s motion to end Kevin McCarthy’s relatively brief tenure as House Speaker was successful Tuesday, with a vocal faction of MAGA-aligned members teaming up with Democrats to oust McCarthy.
The final vote was 216 to 210, with seven Republicans siding with Gaetz.
The motion marks the first time in American history that a House Speaker was removed by a vote on the floor. It also comes with a potential government shutdown looming.
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-NC, was named temporary speaker as Republicans search for a permanent replacement.
Gaetz and MAGA voters had expressed widespread satisfaction at McCarthy’s performance since being appointed as Speaker at the beginning of the year. Gaetz said the breaking point for him came after McCarthy worked with House Democrats over the weekend to pass the stopgap bill, effectively funding the government for the next 45-47 days.
By Monday night, Gaetz told reporters he had enough votes to oust McCarthy unless Democrats save him. Earlier in the day, the Florida Congressman also accused McCarthy of plotting a secret deal with Democrats to unleash more taxpayer money for Ukraine.
“What was the secret side deal that [McCarthy] made with Joe Biden on Ukraine?” Gaetz demanded on Monday. “Members of the Republican Party might vote differently on a motion to vacate if they heard the answer to that question.”
Before Tuesday’s vote, Gaetz was pitted against his own party in a raucous debate over the future of the House.
Some Freedom Caucus members, including Rep. Dan Bishop, R-NC, parted ways with Gaetz. Another typical Gaetz ally, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., also sided with the Republican majority.
“As the only still-serving co-author of motion to vacate Speaker [John] Boehner, this is a terrible idea,” Massie said. “This chamber has been run better, more conservatively and more transparently than any other Speaker I’ve served under.”
Centrist RINOS, for their part, engaged in personal attacks against Gaetz, accusing him of throwing the House into chaos for personal attention. But the Florida firebrand dished out criticisms of his own.
“Over $33 trillion in debt, $2 trillion annual deficits—I’d call that chaotic,” he said.
Gaetz drew boos from the gallery when he criticized McCarthy’s Ukraine funding, and particularly when he blasted his colleagues for receiving donations from special interests.
“Boo all you want!” Gaetz responded to his detractors.
.@MattGaetz just utterly demolished all of Congress in thirty seconds.
He just told all of them he’ll be happy to fund his political operation through small donors while the rest of them go kiss up to the lobbyists.
Best 30 seconds in Congress that I can remember.
I just… pic.twitter.com/y8lfN4E6AL
— Joey Mannarino (@JoeyMannarinoUS) October 3, 2023
Gaetz bragged about how he’s funded via small donors.
Rep. Nancy Mace, R-SC, broke from the moderates to help seal the deal for Gaetz’s motion. Other Republicans to support Gaetz were Matt Rosendale, R-Mt., Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Bob Good, R-Va., Eli Crane, R-Ariz., Ken Buck, R-Co., and Tim Burchett, R-Tenn.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.