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Republicans explain their votes to oust Kevin McCarthy

The eight House Republicans who ousted Congressman Kevin McCarthy from the speaker’s chair have spoken out about their vote, claiming that the former leader failed to deliver on a number of conservative policies while in power.

McCarthy was removed from the speakership in a 216-210 vote Tuesday, with the small group of GOP rebels voting alongside all Democratic House members in attendance to back the motion to vacate filed by Representative Matt Gaetz.

It remains unclear who could be selected as the next speaker, and it’s unlikely that the House will reach a decision quickly with a fractured Republican majority. Those who voted to remove McCarthy include Gaetz, Ken Buck, Andy Biggs, Tim Burchett, Eli Crane, Bob Good, Nancy Mace and Matt Rosendale.

Gaetz told reporters shortly after the former speaker was removed that it was for the “benefit of this country” that the GOP pick a new leader. The Florida lawmaker brought the motion to vacate after McCarthy struck a last-minute bipartisan deal on Saturday to narrowly avert a government shutdown.

“Kevin McCarthy couldn’t keep his word. He made an agreement in January regarding the way Washington would work, and he violated that agreement,” Gaetz said while speaking with members of the media outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday.

Other Republicans, such as Biggs, agreed that McCarthy “failed to demonstrate himself as an effective leader” during his roughly eight months as speaker. Crane said in a statement shared to his social accounts that he is looking for a speaker “to change the ineffective and dishonest way that this town works.”

Rosendale said in a post to X prior to the House voting on the motion to vacate that he intended to support the measure because McCarthy “violated his promise to the American people and the Republican Conference by working against them repeatedly and supporting ploys to aid the Left.”

McCarthy has faced criticism from members of the GOP for months, including after agreeing to raise the debt ceiling for President Joe Biden in May. At the time, many conservatives argued that the negotiations brokered between Biden and McCarthy were a win for the Democrats.

“We are $33 trillion in debt and on track to hit $50 trillion by 2030. We cannot continue to fund the government by continuing resolutions and omnibus spending bills,” Buck wrote in a post to X on Tuesday. “That’s why I voted to oust [McCarthy]. We must change course to sensible budgeting and save our country.”

Mace agreed that McCarthy “has not lived up to his word on how the House would operate” and said that the former speaker had allowed “chaos” in the chamber.

“We need a fresh start so we can get back to the people’s business free of these distractions,” Mace added in a string of posts to X.

Good also said while speaking on the House floor during debate on the motion to vacate that a “red line was crossed” for him after McCarthy had agreed to push through a bipartisan stopgap bill.

Burchett told CNN that his mind was made after McCarthy supposedly “belittled” his Christian faith during a phone call with the former speaker in the morning of the vote. The Tennessee representative declined to share how McCarthy mocked his religion, but told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “when someone mocks me like that and mocks my religion, honestly, the Bible is pretty clear about God being mocked, so that’s what sealed it right there for me.”

Newsweek reached out to McCarthy’s office via email on Tuesday night for comment.

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