The House on Tuesday voted to remove Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as speaker, marking the first time in history a House speaker was removed through a resolution to oust them.
The effort was launched on Monday by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who introduced a privileged resolution to vacate the speakership after accusing McCarthy of cutting a secret side deal with President Biden on Ukraine aid.
Since a handful of Republicans supported Gaetz’s maneuver, McCarthy needed some Democrats to support him to survive, but none did. The final vote was 216-210, with eight Republicans and every Democrat voting to remove McCarthy.
There’s no clear nominee to replace McCarthy, but in the meantime, according to CNN, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) will serve as interim speaker.
Gaetz had long been threatening to launch an effort to remove McCarthy. His decision to go through with the motion came in response to the stopgap funding bill that was passed by the House on Saturday and signed by President Biden to avert a government shutdown.
The House stripped billions in Ukraine aid from the stopgap funding bill, but Gaetz said McCarthy must have cut a secret deal since Democrats supported it anyway. President Biden said Sunday that he expected McCarthy to “keep his word and secure the passage of support for Ukraine at this critical moment.”
While the majority of Congress still supports the proxy war in Ukraine, the fact that staunch opponents of the policy like Gaetz have power over House leadership is significant. Opposition to proxy war among Republicans in Congress will likely continue to grow as a recent CNN poll found 71% of Republican voters don’t want more spending on Ukraine to be authorized.