As a result, McCarthy – who came up short on his first three attempts to become the next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday – lost another three votes on Wednesday.
“It’s now time for all of our GREAT Republican House Members to VOTE FOR KEVIN (emphasis original),” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform early Wednesday. “Kevin McCarthy will do a good job, and maybe even a GREAT JOB – JUST WATCH!”
Unfortunately for McCarthy – and for Trump – not a single one of the twenty GOP lawmakers refusing to back McCarthy’s speakership budged. In fact, they publicly spoke out against Trump – yet another sign of his weakened position within the party he once dominated.
“The president needs to tell Kevin McCarthy, ‘Sir, you do not have the votes and it’s time to withdraw,'” representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado – a staunch Trump backer – said from the floor of the House.
Boebert’s remarks were greeted by a chorus of boos from within the House chamber – where the GOP holds a narrower-than-expected majority after a “red wave” failed to materialize during the 2022 elections. Still, the increasingly grim reality confronting McCarthy is that his detractors – who have been likened to the Taliban by their establishment rivals – have no intention of capitulating.
Even Trump’s public appeal – accompanied by personal phone calls from the former president to each of the holdouts – did nothing to change the equation.
Another Trump loyalist – representative Matt Gaetz of Florida – called the former president’s attempt to lift McCarthy to the speakership “sad.”
“It didn’t move the needle,” Gaetz added.
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In fact, McCarthy’s position marginally worsened when one of his former GOP supporters – representative Victoria Spartz of Indiana – started voting “present” instead of voting for his speakership.
McCarthy’s multiple defeats marked only the second time since the War Between the States that a ruling party in the House failed to nominate a leader on the first ballot. The last time was 1923 – when it took nine votes for the U.S. House to elect Massachusetts Republican Frederick Huntington Gillett as speaker.
Gillett’s third term as speaker was delayed by a progressive revolt. McCarthy’s first term may never happen due to an attempted conservative coup.
Nothing can happen in the U.S. House of Representatives during the 118th Congress until a new speaker is chosen. That includes new members – including South Carolina seventh district representative-elect Russell Fry – being sworn in.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has an incredible hat collection including that Tampa Bay Rays sunburst batting practice lid.
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