Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has announced that he will be stepping down from office at the end of the year.
In a video statement released Wednesday on social media, McCarthy (R-Calif.) stated that after 17 years in Congress, it was “time to pursue my passion in a new arena. While I will be departing the House at the end of this year, I will never ever give up fighting for this country that I love so much.
“For me, every moment came with a great deal of devotion and responsibility, giving my best to all of you has been my greatest honor. I’m proud of what we have accomplished,” McCarthy said.
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
First elected to the House in 2006, the California congressman was one of the founding members of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” program alongside Congressman Eric Cantor, and fellow former House Speaker Paul Ryan. All three of the “young guns,” who once held the promise of ushering in a new generation of Republican House leadership, have now left government — each systematically usurped by a more vitriolic, extremist crop of right-wing Republicans.
McCarthy’s quest to seize the House speakership, and his catastrophic downfall from the post, will be one of the chief markers of his legacy. Already having one failed bid for the role, in 2015, under his belt, McCarthy’s January nomination for the speakership took a staggering 15 rounds of voting to confirm. From the jump, McCarthy’s hold on the powerful office was fragile, and his growing schism with the most extreme factions of the GOP caucus was the sword of Damocles hanging over his tenure.
In October, it all came to a head during a dispute over the House’s annual appropriations process. McCarthy became the first speaker in the history of the House of Representatives to be voted out of the position, ousted in an internal coup led by some of the most right-wing members of his own caucus — most notably Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). “McLeavin’,” Gaetz tweeted after McCarthy announced his resignation on Wednesday.
With McCarthy leaving office, and the recent expulsion of former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) from the House, the GOP’s already narrow majority in the lower chamber has narrowed to just two members.
“Hopefully no one dies,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, an ally of McCarthy’s wrote on X, formerly Twitter, in reaction to the news that the GOP’s hold on power in the House has grown even more tenuous.
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