Earlier this year, Congressional Republicans turned their backs on then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy when he needed the full support of a bare majority of the House to maintain his power. Now, he’s returning the favor, and while he’s not calling it a revenge move, there are hints of bitterness in his exit statement.
McCarthy says he plans to “serve America in new ways,” but he’s not specific about his plans, other than saying he also plans to “recruit the best and brightest” to run for elected office; that he intends to offer his experience for supporting “the next generation of leaders;” and that he hopes to help “entrepreneurs and risk-takers reach their full potential.”
As he goes, he’s also making things harder for his party in the House of Representatives.
Their narrow majority was already reduced by the removal of George Santos at the beginning of this month, and when he departs, McCarthy will narrow that further. In his Wall Street Journal op-ed, McCarthy said:
“It often seems that the more Washington does, the worse America gets…The challenges we face are more likely to be solved by innovation than legislation.”
He touted his successes in the House, mentioning his time as Speaker and taking credit for “helping” Republicans take a majority in the chamber twice. He describes himself as “cheerfully persistent when elected Speaker” — though he doesn’t quite say whether he’s describing his persistence in sitting through multiple votes before being seated, or in dealing with his party’s lack of unity. He concludes:
“It is in this spirit that I have decided to depart the House at the end of this year to serve America in new ways.”
Representative Matt Gaetz — the same Congressman who initiated efforts to oust McCarthy from the Speaker’s seat — predicted his exit earlier this month (clip below), as he griped about the expulsion of George Santos, who has been indicted on a slate of criminal acts and accused of more.
Gatez warned supporters that with Santos out and (he predicts) McCarthy and Bill Johnson both leaving, Republicans will be left with a single-seat majority. Furthermore, he argues:
“We could be down to a one-seat majority. We’ve got a bunch of these octogenarians in our conference, if, God forbid, any of them were to cross the rainbow bridge…we could lose the majority.”
(Gaetz didn’t mention that he himself is under investigation by the same ethics committee that found problems with Santos’ conduct and that he could also be booted.)
McCarthy’s feelings over being dumped as Speaker have already caused rifts — he’s been accused of elbowing one fellow legislator as he passed in the hall in retaliation.
Though he didn’t name a date, McCarthy said he’ll be leaving “at the end of this year.”
McCarthy posted a version of his exit statement on social media as well. (Seen below.)
As the son of a firefighter from Bakersfield, my story is the story of America. For me, every moment came with a great deal of devotion and responsibility.
Serving you in Congress and as the 55th Speaker of the House has been my greatest honor. pic.twitter.com/jNnYQ8UO4k
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) December 6, 2023
Gaetz gripes about McCarthy’s impending exit and Santos’ ouster.
Gaetz says GOP could lose the House majority in next few months because Santos was expelled, Bill Johnson & McCarthy are leaving any day, which would put them at a 1 seat majority, and they have a bunch of members who are old and could die any day. pic.twitter.com/zVNqxBHyS7
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) December 2, 2023
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.
Steph Bazzle is a news writer who covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph. Sign up for all of her stories to be delivered to your inbox here: