216 representatives voted for the removal of the politician from the state of California, who until then held the third-highest office in the state: eight Republicans from the far-right wing of the party and 208 representatives from President Joe Biden’s Democrats. 210 Republican MPs voted against removal. Despite his historic defeat, McCarthy smiled after the vote as party colleagues shook his hand.

It is unclear who will now take over the presidency of the congressional chamber, which is paralyzed for the time being. He loved every minute as the 55th Speaker of the House of Representatives, McCarthy told reporters after the vote and made it clear that he would not run again – although that would have been possible. The Republicans will meet on Tuesday next week to agree on a new candidate. A vote is likely to take place on Wednesday.

President Biden called on the House of Representatives to “quickly” elect a successor. “The urgent challenges facing our country will not wait,” said his spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre. On the one hand, Biden wants to quickly decide on new aid to Ukraine. On the other hand, Congress must reach a new budget agreement soon, otherwise there is a risk of a so-called shutdown in November.

At the weekend, McCarthy reached a last-minute compromise with Democrats in the House of Representatives on funding US federal authorities until November 17 in order to prevent such a budget freeze. The dispute over the shutdown is also the background to the removal request that Gaetz, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, submitted on Monday evening.

Gaetz, who is insisting on massive spending cuts, has sharply criticized McCarthy for this. He also accuses McCarthy of having made a “secret” arrangement with President Biden for new aid to Ukraine. The ultra-right in the House of Representatives are against additional aid for Kiev and would rather spend the money on securing the US border with Mexico.

Before the vote in the plenary, Gaetz engaged in heated exchanges with other Republicans who supported McCarthy. “You can boo all you want,” he shouted at one point. McCarthyites warned that removing the chairman would “paralyze” the chamber of Congress, lead to “chaos,” turn the population against Republicans and ultimately benefit Democrats.

After the vote, Gaetz said the chairman fell “because no one trusts Kevin McCarthy.” He added: “It is in the interest of this country that we have a better speaker than Kevin McCarthy.” In the USA, the speaker is the chairman of the House of Representatives.

McCarthy still had the support of the vast majority of Republican representatives. However, the conservatives in the House of Representatives only have such a narrow majority that five right-wing Republican hardliners would have been enough to overthrow McCarthy if the Democrats voted unanimously against the chairman.

McCarthy made it clear on Tuesday that he would not make any deals with the Democrats to stay in office. The Democratic leadership, in turn, said it was not their job to prevent the Republican from being removed – even if this could lead to chaos in the House of Representatives.

McCarthy took over the leadership of the House of Representatives at the beginning of the year after Republicans won a narrow majority in the November 2022 congressional midterm elections. It was clear from the start that McCarthy would have a difficult time in the face of opposition from his party’s far-right wing. He needed a record 15 ballots in January to be elected leader.

Former President Trump was disappointed with his party’s power struggle. “Why do Republicans always fight against each other and not against the radical left-wing Democrats who are destroying our country?” wrote the right-wing populist, who wants to run again in the 2024 presidential election, on his online platform Truth Social.