With the bang of a gavel that literally shook the House floor and figuratively shook American political history, the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives was officially declared vacant. Republican Representative from California’s 20th District and 55th Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who, just 9 months ago, went through 15 tedious rounds of voting to earn the office, was ousted by fellow Republican Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida’s 1st District and seven other Republicans, once again making history.
On Tuesday, October 3, the contingent of hard-right Republicans, joined by all 208 House Democrats, made Rep. McCarthy the first ever American Speaker to be voted out of office with a vote of 216-210, accusing the former Speaker of relying on Democratic votes to get a short-term spending deal passed last Saturday to avert a government shutdown. While working across the aisle and showing bipartisan leadership would generally be lauded, in the modern-day, polarized times American finds itself in, it seems quite the opposite.
McCarthy announced, after the vote, that he would not run again for speaker which puts the gavel up for grabs. “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 following his removal, portraying a positive outlook for the future.
The House has now agreed to go on recess, a one week break, to take time to decide who will be nominated as potential contenders for the position. Next steps are highly uncertain with no obvious successor to lead the House Republican majority. The top candidates are currently House Majority Leader and the second highest-ranking House Republican Steve Scalise of Louisiana and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio. Reps. Tom Emmer of Minnesota and Kevin Hern of Oklahoma have also expressed interest in the Speakership while some speculate that McCarthy’s handpicked interim Speaker, Patrick McHenry, might try his hand at the position.
While the Constitution has left many aspects of American governance vague, a unique, little-known one is about the Speaker of the House position. The Speaker doesn’t have to be a member of the House of Representatives, and while no person who wasn’t a member of the House has become Speaker to date, there is still a possibility that this could happen. The talk of the town in this category of non-Representative candidates? Former US President and 2024 presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. When asked about this, Trump seemed to encourage the idea, saying “They have asked me if I would take it for a short period of time for the party, until they come to a conclusion – I’m not doing it because I want to – I will do it if necessary, should they not be able to make their decision. If I can help them during the process, I would do it.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia’s 14th District and longtime proponent of Former President Trump, endorsed the idea on X (formerly known as Twitter), saying that “if Trump becomes Speaker of the House, the House chamber will be like a Trump rally everyday!!” She continued, in reference to Trump’s Make America Great Again movement (often abbreviated to MAGA): “It would be the House of MAGA!!!”
As the US paddles through unprecedented waters in the next week, it will become increasingly apparent who will replace Rep. McCarthy. But, in the meantime, this historical series of events is a defining factor and landmark of the polarization that plagues American society and politics today.
Hello! My name is Krishna Mano and I am a sophomore at City High School. This is my fourth year writing for The City Voice and second year as an editor. Apart from the newspaper, I am part of the Speech and Debate team, President of the 10th Grade Student Council, and Treasurer of the NHS. Outside of school, I enjoy playing the violin, reading, skiing, and paddleboarding. If you have any questions about my articles, please contact me at email@example.com.