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McCarthy steps down with these remarks, “I may have lost this vote today, but as I walk out of this chamber, I feel fortunate to have served.” / Courtesy Photo

McCarthy ousted as Speaker of the House

By Patricia Farris
News Review Publisher–

On Tuesday, October 3, Speaker McCarthy was voted out of his job. This extraordinary showdown was a first in U.S. history. The action taken by the hard-right-conservative contingent threw the House and the Republican leadership into chaos.

McCarthy announced to the lawmakers that he would not run again for Speaker.

In a press conference following the vote, McCarthy commented.

You know, President Abraham Lincoln once said, “I’m an optimist because I don’t see any other way.” If you ever come to my office, you’ll see the portraits of Lincoln and Reagan.  I firmly believe if Reagan were to give us advice today, he would say, “If you believe in your principles and bring people greater freedom, you should be happy about it.”  I’ve always been excited that I’ve been a happy conservative.  And I’ve always believed that I’ve been so fortunate to be an American.

My journey to this office was something people wouldn’t understand. I grew up in the town of Bakersfield, CA.  I was the son of a firefighter and the grandson of immigrants. My parents worked hard.  I was the youngest in my family, and we didn’t have great wealth.  When I got out of high school, I didn’t have great grades, so I couldn’t get a scholarship. So, I went to Community College and flipped cars to try to pay my way through it.  One weekend, I went to visit some buddies. I waved college for a weekend and stopped at the grocery store to cash a check, and I won the lottery – one of the first in California.  This was before Biden economics; it was only $ 5,000, but it went much further back then. I took my folks to dinner and put the majority of the rest of the money into the stock market and did pretty well. The next semester, I took a break from school. I went to buy a franchise, but no one said they would sell me one.  I was only 20 years old. I learned then never to give up. So, I opened my own business selling sandwiches.

Three things I learned: first to work, last to leave, last to be paid. I wanted to finish my college degree. At that time, no one in my family had finished a four-year degree.  I did pretty well and had enough money that I could now pay my way through school as long as I went to Cal State. So, I sold my business and went to school.  I opened up the local paper, and it said, “Be a summer intern in Washington, DC, with my local congressman.”  I did not know this man, but I thought he’d be lucky to have me, so I applied. You know what he did? He turned me down!   But you want to know the end of the story?  I got elected to a seat I couldn’t get an internship for, and I ended up being the 55th Speaker of the House. One of the greatest honors; I loved every minute.

The one thing I will tell you is doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it is necessary. I don’t regret standing up for choosing governance over grievance. It is my responsibility; it is my job. I do not regret negotiating. Our government is designed to find a compromise. I don’t regret my efforts to build coalitions and find solutions. I was raised to solve problems, not create them.  So, I may have lost the vote today, but as I walk out of this chamber, I feel fortunate to have served the American people. I leave the speakership with a sense of pride, accomplishment, and, yes, optimism.  From the day I entered politics, my mission has always been to make tomorrow better than today. I fought for what I believe in, and I believe in this country of America. 

My goals have not changed. My ability to fight is just in a different form. You need 218. Unfortunately, 4% of our conference, including all the Democrats, can dictate who can be the Republican speaker in this house. I don’t think that rule is good for the institution, but apparently, I’m the only one.

I believe I can continue to fight – maybe in a different manner.  I will not run for speaker again. I’ll have the conference pick somebody else. I hope you realize that every day, I did the job regardless of whether you underestimated me or not. I wanted to do it with a smile. I grew to enjoy you, even on your toughest days and your questions. I could always tell what day it was based on your questions. Monday, you would ask if I could pass the bill. Tuesday was whether the rule would pass. Wednesday was the greatest challenge ever to my speakership, and Thursday, when we passed the bill, you didn’t think it was a very big deal. And it all started again on Friday.

You know, I wouldn’t change a thing.  I have a new portrait in there, too, of Teddy Roosevelt. You all know the man in the arena—one of my favorite parts of it is “The one who errs comes up short again and again, but there is no effort without error and shortcomings. Who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who spends themselves in a worthy cause who knows the triumph of high achievement, and then who failed he knows he failed while doing great.”

I always like to take a risk. Saturday, I took a risk for the American public.  Regardless of what anybody says, no one knew whether that bill would pass. The Democrats didn’t want that bill. Yes, they pulled the fire alarm. Yes, they do their conga line. Yes, they want a delay. But it was all for the American people. I could not look the troops in the eye and say I would not pay them.

For those who spoke on the floor, I thank them for their positive talks. I don’t know what those who voted against it said. There was a deal; they were never a part of any deal. For those who spoke about what we accomplished, I’m proud of what we accomplished. From the parents’ Bill of Rights to our energy bill, but if they want to hold me liable because the Senate didn’t take it up or the president didn’t take it up, that’s politics from what I know.  One thing I do know is this country is too great for the small vision of those eight.

To any child listening who plans to visit the capitol:  this is a place I want you to visit.  I liked opening the capitol back up again.  I liked taking away the metal detectors. I liked committees being able to work. I liked people being able to visit.  I hope you liked opening up the capitol again.  I think it was important that the members actually show up to work.

As well, you know, to paraphrase Lou Gehrig: he said, “I might have been given a bad break, but I truly still consider myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”  There’s no other country where you could rise to be the 55th Speaker and be able to fight for the American public.  So, it was my greatest honor   to be able to do it.  I loved it.  I won two majorities as Leader. I’m proud of the fact that, as Republican Leader, we elected more women. We elected more minorities. We expanded the base.  I’m proud of the fact that for the five years I was Leader, in two election cycles, we gained five more seats in California and five more in New York.  I intend to make sure we gain and keep the majority in the next cycle as well.

It was McCarthy’s chief rival, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who orchestrated the rare vote on the obscure “motion to vacate” and pushed ahead swiftly into a dramatic afternoon roll call.

While McCarthy enjoyed support from most Republicans in his slim majority, eight Republican detractors — many of the same hard-right holdouts who tried to stop him from becoming speaker in January — essentially forced him out.

Stillness fell as the presiding officer gaveled the vote closed, 216-210, saying the office of the speaker “is hereby declared vacant.”

Moments later, a top McCarthy ally, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., took the gavel and, according to House rules, was named speaker pro tempore to serve in the office until a new speaker is chosen.

a long line of McCarthy supporters stood up for him, including Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a leader of the conservative Freedom Caucus, who said, “He has kept his word.” Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., waved his cellphone, saying it was “disgusting” that hard-right colleagues were fundraising off the move in text messages seeking donations.

Removing the speaker launches the House Republicans into chaos, heading into a busy fall when Congress will need to fund the government again or risk a mid-November shutdown.

Majority Leader Steve Scalise is being considered as a potential candidate.

“No matter who is going to be the speaker, the challenges still remain,” Scalise said. “But I think the opportunity is there to continue moving forward.”

Many had lined up to hug McCarthy, some to shake his hand.