Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Tuesday night he will not run again for House speaker, saying "it has been an honor to serve," after eight Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic caucus to unseat him.
McCarthy is the first House Speaker in history to be ousted by a House vote.
"I will not seek to run again for Speaker of the House," McCarthy announced in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
"I may have lost a vote today, but I fought for what I believe in -- and I believe in America. It has been an honor to serve," McCarthy added.
I will not seek to run again for Speaker of the House. I may have lost a vote today, but I fought for what I believe in-and I believe in America. It has been an honor to serve. https://t.co/4EMpOuwtzy— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) October 3, 2023
In remarks Tuesday evening after losing the speakership, McCarthy said he had no regrets.
"I don't regret standing up for choosing government over grievance. It is my responsibility. It is my job. I do not regret negotiating. Our government is designed to find compromise. I don't regret my efforts to build coalitions and find solutions," McCarthy said. "I was raised to solve problems not create them."
The eight Republican representatives who voted to unseat McCarthy were Andy Biggs, Ken Buck, Tim Burchett, Eli Crane, Matt Gaetz, Bob Good, Nancy Mace and Matt Rosendale. The resolution passed 216-210.
Former Vice President Mike Pence responded to news of the House vote, ousting McCarthy, during a foreign policy forum Tuesday night.
"I am deeply disappointed that a handful of Republicans would partner with all the Democrats in the House of Representatives to oust the speaker of the House," Pence said.
A vote on a new House speaker is expected next week. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., will serve as speaker pro tempore until a new speaker is chosen.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., introduced the motion to remove McCarthy as speaker on Monday. The motion was made after the House passed a resolution to avert a government shutdown for at least 45 days.
McCarthy later posted a short response to the motion on X: "Bring it on."
"I don't think voting against Kevin McCarthy is chaos," Gaetz said when the motion was debated on the floor. "I think $33 trillion in debt is chaos."
The resolution to remove McCarthy needed a simple majority to pass.
Before the vote, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., motioned to table the issue. The motion to table failed with at least 11 Republicans voting against it. Democrats voted in unison against tabling.
Lawmakers opposed and in favor of unseating McCarthy were allowed to state their cases before the vote over removal. Cole said the House is divided into three groups: Republicans who are proud of the speaker, a small group that wants to "plunge the House into chaos" and Democrats.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said McCarthy has been "rock solid" on the bills that Republicans needed to pass. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., pleaded to Democrats to rethink voting out McCarthy.
"I don't think voting against Kevin McCarthy is chaos," Gaetz said. "I think $33 trillion in debt is chaos."
Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., was one of the 11 Republicans who voted against tabling Gaetz's motion. He said he would vote in favor of removing McCarthy, citing the speaker relying on votes from Democrats to pass legislation.
"We need a speaker who will fight for something, anything, besides just staying or becoming speaker," Good said.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R- Ariz., decried McCarthy working with Democrats to pass the continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown, saying it eliminated Republicans' leverage against President Joe Biden. Good earlier said McCarthy was not willing to experience the "temporary discomfort" of a government shutdown to accomplish his party's goals.
Democratic and Republican caucuses met behind closed doors Tuesday to weigh the consequences of unseating the California Republican. Democrats met for more than two hours, showing reluctance to save McCarthy's position, The New York Times reported.
Minority leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., wrote that House Democrats have been "willing to find common ground," to move forward and govern, but have been met with resistance from "extreme" Republicans.
"It is now the responsibility of the GOP members to end the House Republican civil war," Jeffries said in a statement posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. "Given their unwillingness to break from MAGA extremism in an authentic and comprehensive manner, House Democratic leadership will vote yes on the pending Republican Motion to Vacate the Chair."
"Nobody trusts Kevin McCarthy and why should they?" said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.
Appearing on CNBC's Squawk Box on Tuesday, McCarthy said Gaetz's motion is in retaliation for an ethics complaint against him that McCarthy denies filing.
"I have nothing to do with it. He wants me to try to wipe that away," McCarthy said. "And you know what? If some way I lose my job because I uphold the law [and the] continuity of government, so be it."
McCarthy's allies in the GOP have similarly stated that Gaetz is seeking "personal and political gain."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is among the notable absences by Democrats as she remains in California mourning the death of Rep. Dianne Feinstein, CNN reports.
In January, the House passed a new rule to allow just one member to bring forward a motion to vacate the speakership. The new House rules were passed as McCarthy jostled to earn votes from members of his party to ascend to the role of Speaker of the House.