US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has been ousted as speaker after Democrats announced they would not bail him out of a move by hardliners within his own Republican party to remove him from the powerful post.
According to international media reports, McCarthy was axed from his role on Tuesday in a ruthless overthrow by far-right Republican lawmakers furious over his cooperation with Democrats.
For the first time in its 234-year history, the House backed a resolution “to vacate the office of the speaker” with a 216-210 vote setting the stage for an unprecedented contest to replace McCarthy a year before the presidential election.
Representative Patrick McHenry of North Carolina was appointed speaker pro tempore of the House after McCarthy’s stunning ouster.
McCarthy sparked fury among the ultra-conservative wing of the Republicans at the weekend when he worked with Democrats to pass a stopgap funding measure to avert a government shutdown.
Leading the criticism was Congressman Matt Gaetz, a longtime McCarthy antagonist who on Monday moved to topple the speaker with a “motion to vacate the chair” — forcing a vote scheduled for mid-afternoon.
The move meant Democrats were faced with the choice of voting to rescue a speaker who is aligned with scandal-embroiled former Republican president Donald Trump and recently opened an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.