‘A True Friend of Israel’: Kevin McCarthy loses House Speaker’s gavel in historic vote

Eight conservative Republicans join with 208 Democrats to oust Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy – the first time a serving Speaker has ever been deposed.

By The Associated Press, TPS

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 conservatives and throwing the House and its Republican leadership into chaos.

The House voted 216 to 210 to remove McCarthy as Speaker, with eight Republicans joining 208 Democrats in the vote.

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 with 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, alternating between upbeat assessment of his speakership and angry score-settling of those who ousted him.

Still, he said, “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.

The Speaker of Israel’s Knesset, Amir Ohana (Likud), released a statement of gratitude to McCarthy.

“Kevin McCarthy is a true friend of Israel, in every role he has served,” said Ohana.

“As Speaker of the House, he did more than any other to strengthen the bond between our legislatures, and chose the Knesset to be the first parliament he visited outside of America.”

“As Speaker of the Knesset, I am grateful for everything he has done to promote US-Israel relations and Knesset-Congress ties,” he added. “I’m sure there is more to come. Thank you Kevin.”