Republican Kevin McCarthy speaks to reporters hours after he was removed as speaker of the House on October 3, 2023 in Washington, DC [J Scott Applewhite/AP Photo]

Kevin McCarthy removed as US House speaker in unprecedented vote

Republican speaker fails to face down a challenge from a small faction of right-wing conservatives.

Source: Aljazeera News

The United States House of Representatives has voted to remove Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the result of infighting within his own party and persistent challenges from its rightward flank.

McCarthy was expelled from his role in a 216-210 vote on Tuesday evening, the first time in US history that the House has voted to remove its leader.

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“Speaker McCarthy has failed to take a stand where it matters,” far-right Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, who launched the effort to remove McCarthy, said in a social media post before the vote. “So if he won’t, I will.”

The unprecedented vote underscores growing turmoil in the Republican Party, also known as the GOP, with its hard-right faction sparring with McCarthy on several occasions since he first became the speaker in January. There is no clear choice within the party to replace him.

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In the vote, eight Republicans broke with the speaker, sinking his chances of securing the majority needed to keep his job. Democrats, who have expressed frustration with McCarthy over what they see as his efforts to appeal to the Republican’s hard right, refused to vote in his favour.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden hoped the House would quickly select a new speaker, saying the “urgent challenges facing our nation will not wait”.

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