- Representative Kevin McCarthy was not elected speaker for the 14th time this week on Friday night.
- Chaos reigned on the House floor after McCarthy and MP Matt Gaetz had a tense exchange.
- Representative Mike Rogers appeared to throw himself at Gaetz and was stopped by Congressman Richard Hudson.
The US House of Representatives was thrown into chaos Friday night after Congressman Kevin McCarthy failed to garner enough votes to be elected speaker for the 14th time this week.
The hardline faction of about 20 Republicans voted against McCarthy multiple times on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but the California representative made some headway Friday morning, rolling 14 votes in his favor.
That still wasn’t enough to be elected speaker, leading to a round of voting late Friday night that led to the most chaotic scene in the House.
Voting was coming to a close when Florida MP Matt Gaetz, who had been leading the impeachment against McCarthy all week, finally voted “present” – again leaving McCarthy one vote short of being elected speaker.
McCarthy got up from his seat to approach Gaetz, and the two had a tense confrontation captured on C-SPAN thanks to the fact that there are technically no House rules yet that usually limit what the network can film.
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 7, 2023
It’s unclear what was said between the two, but McCarthy seemed almost serious while the Florida fireman was more animated, pointing and gesticulating with his hands.
At the end of the exchange, which lasted about a minute and a half, Congressman Mike Rogers of Alabama could be seen confronting Gaetz as McCarthy walked away. CNN reporter Annie Grayer reported that Rogers had lunged at Gaetz, and C-SPAN showed Rogers seem to be held back by Representative Richard Hudson of North Carolina.
Screams from members of the House could be heard as McCarthy turned towards the scene.
—Gene Park (@GenePark) January 7, 2023
Shortly after the exchange, speaker voting continued and McCarthy finished with 216 votes out of 432 – one short of the majority he needed. Deliberations continued in the House before the announcement of the final count of votes.
Rep. Patrick McHenry proposed adjourning Congress until Monday, but the vote failed, starting the fifteenth round of voting around 11:45 p.m. local time on Friday.
A representative for Rogers did not immediately respond to an Insider’s request for comment.