Tensions were high last night on the House of Representatives floor over the vote to elect Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker. At one point, a Republican House member even had to be restrained from further escalating a confrontation.
At one point during the vote, newly elected Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy confronted Republican Representative Matt Gaetz on the House floor. See the video below from C-SPAN that has already been viewed over a million times.
Rep. Matt Gaetz has been at the center of controversy over the vote for McCarthy as he has held out with a handful of other Republicans voting as “present” and not for McCarthy. The exchange in the above video occurred during the 14th ballot. It shows McCarthy walking up the aisle of the House toward Gaetz where they exchange tense words. At that point, McCarthy had won 216 votes and would’ve successfully been elected speaker if he had received one more vote.
After the 14th vote failed, tensions flared Republican Representative Mike Rogers attempted to approach Gaetz as well. He eventually had to be retrained by Rep. Richard Hudson as not to escalate the tense interaction between the two. See a video of the exchange below, where Rogers appears to almost lunge at Gaetz before being pulled back.
Apparently, Gaetz was discussing with Kevin McCarthy the possibility of backing him in the next vote and appeared to mouth the word “committee.” Rogers witnessed this interaction, to which he approached Gaetz in the aisle before being physically restrained. Allegedly, Rogers yelled at Gaetz, “I won’t forget this!” Rep. Gaetz is currently on the House Armed Services Committee which is chaired by Rogers.
McCarthy was successfully elected on the 15th ballot, when six Republicans were still holding out, including Gaetz and Boebert, who continued to vote “present.” That lowered the threshold for a majority and McCarthy won with 216 votes to Democratic Representative Hakeem Jeffries’ 212.
Gaetz previously said he would never vote for McCarthy and he backed other candidates. Gaetz even went as far as voting for former President Donald Trump.
No speaker has failed to win election on the first ballot since 1923. Furthermore, this year’s House Speaker election has been the longest since 1859, when 44 ballots were needed before a decision was made.
During an interview with Fox News on Friday before the House reconvened, Gaetz suggested that McCarthy had made concessions to the Republican holdouts in order to gain the necessary votes to secure the Speaker position.
“I am excited and encouraged.”
“I am grateful that Speaker-designate McCarthy has been so receptive to each and every change that we have demanded. And Sean, we’re at the stage right now where I’m running out of stuff to ask for.”
Following the official tally, Rep-elect Hakeem Jeffries, D-NY, who received 212 votes in the speaker race, provided brief remarks and welcomed McCarthy to officially hand over the speaker gavel to McCarthy.
McCarthy will now preside over the 118th Congress. With Republicans controlling the House it will be interesting to see what initiatives take place.
Note: Featured image is a screenshot from embedded video.
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