Many congressional Republican lawmakers are speculating that former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) may exit Congress altogether before the end of the year. While rumors regarding McCarthy’s future in the House have floated since he was removed from his role as speaker, new reporting suggests that he may plan to depart sooner than later.
Earlier in the year, after McCarthy was removed as House speaker, many wondered how he would adjust to his new position as a regular House representative with no major role. Many analysts assumed he would have a difficult time, especially as he openly remained bitter toward the eight Republicans who voted for his removal.
According to Axios, McCarthy privately told donors he was looking to “get the hell out.” Rumors continued to be fueled after an Instagram photo posted by McCarthy apparently showed his district office being packed up before the Thanksgiving recess.
Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says Rep. Matt Gaetz “belongs in jail.”
— bryan metzger (@metzgov) November 30, 2023
Some GOP lawmakers are concerned about what could happen if McCarthy steps down from his seat early. If he does indeed leave, this could put the narrow the majority held by GOP members of the House — something they certainly don’t want.
Tensions between McCarthy and many other Republican House lawmakers remain and haven’t gotten better since his outsing. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) accused McCarthy of elbowing him in the hallway, an allegation McCarthy has denied.
McCarthy, meanwhile, has called the eight Republicans who voted to oust him the “crazy eight.” According to Politico, McCarthy also said that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who forced the vote on McCarthy’s removal, “belongs in jail.”
McCarthy’s allies, meanwhile, seemingly understand why he would want to leave early, with some speculating that he will leave and begin to campaign against the Republicans who kicked him out of his speaker role.
McCarthy has publicly talked about his future in the House, stating he’s still not sure what he’ll end up doing. “I have another week or so to decide because if I decide to run again, I have to know in my heart I’m giving 110%,” he said this week at The New York Times DealBook Summit.
He also stated, “I have to know that I want to do that. I also have to know if I’m going to walk away, that I’m going to be fine with walking away. And so I’m really taking this time now.”