Two out of seven South Carolina Congressional representatives voted Tuesday to remove U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in a historic leadership ouster.
South Carolina Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn and Republican Rep. Nancy Mace voted to replace McCarthy, part of the 216-210 prevailing vote.
The other five South Carolinians — Rep. Joe Wilson, Rep. Jeff Duncan, Rep. Russell Fry, Rep. Norman and Rep. William Timmons — voted to keep the speaker in his position.
No U.S. House speaker has ever been removed in this way, even though there have been similar attempts in history which were never successful.
Monday night, Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz introduced a motion to remove McCarthy as speaker of the House. For weeks, hard-right Republicans have been adamant about removing McCarthy due to his agreement to work with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown. Ultimately, when McCarthy made a deal with Democrats to avert the shutdown and allot 45 more days of temporary government spending, Gaetz motioned to vacate, allowing a single House member, himself, to push the chamber to consider voting out the speaker, according to the Washington Post.
Democrats and far-right Republicans often, if not almost always, disagree. This time, they voted together.
Mace had said she was undecided on how she would vote on McCarthy just two days before the vote took place. But she had voiced her dissatisfaction with McCarthy multiple times, specifically for not following through on promises on legislation related to contraception. She also has talked about four other promises she said McCarthy made to her, including on “gun violence” and “balancing the budget,” Mace said.
“I empathize with Matt Gaetz over his frustration,” Mace said on The View earlier this week. “I’m frustrated equally but for different, different, very different reasons,” she said.
Ultimately, Mace followed through on her threats. Clyburn voted with the Democrats.
Clyburn and Mace also voted against an earlier motion to table the vote on replacing McCarthy, effectively forcing the vote on his replacing.
A temporary speaker will now be put into place until a new House speaker is voted on. When McCarthy was voted as the speaker in January of this year, it took 15 rounds of voting to approve him.