It’s the end of the political line for McCarthy, who has said repeatedly that he never gives up, but found himself with almost no options remaining. Neither the conservative Republicans who engineered his ouster nor the Democrats who piled on seem open to negotiating.
McCarthy told lawmakers in the evening he would not run again for speaker, putting the gavel up for grabs. Next steps are highly uncertain as there is no obvious successor to lead the House Republican majority. Action is halted in the House until next week, when Republicans try to elect a new speaker. Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina has been appointed speaker pro tempore of the House after McCarthy's historic ouster.
“I may have lost this vote today, but as I walk out of this chamber I feel fortunate to have served,” McCarthy said at a press conference at the Capitol. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”
McCarthy’s chief rival, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, orchestrated the rare vote on the obscure “motion to vacate,” and pushed ahead swiftly into a dramatic afternoon roll call. The final vote was 216-210.
While McCarthy enjoyed support from most Republicans in his slim majority, eight Republican lawmakers — many of the same House members who tried to stop him from becoming speaker in January — essentially forced him out.