Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida moved against Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday to oust him of his position, in an act of vengeance that posted the clearest threat yet to McCarthy’s tenure and could cause chaos in the House.
After days of warning, Gaetz stood up on Monday evening to bring up a resolution that could vacant the speakership position. That started a process that would force a vote with days on whether McCarthy will retain the position of Speaker. In doing so, Gaetz came up with a rare political punishment for McCarthy, which has been faced by only two Speakers in the history of 234 years of the House of Representative.
The move comes days after the Speaker averted a government shutdown by passing a stopgap spending bill, which was the only way, by relying on the votes of the Democrats. The bill was passed in the House, which had objections from his own party’s hard-liners including Gaetz.
McCarthy was not present when Gaetz made his motion, however, scores of Democrats crowded in the aisles to watch the spectacle. The House adjourned shortly afterward, but as per the chamber’s rules, McCarthy and his leadership team are required to address it within two legislative days.