McCarthy To Depart Congress After Being Ousted As Speaker

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) recently announced he would depart Congress by the end of 2023. The move comes after he was ousted from the speakership in October 2023.

Before entering politics, the California congressman had been a deli counter owner in Bakersfield, California. McCarthy’s rise in state and national politics bumped him up to third in line for the presidency before he was removed by his fellow party members from the speakership.

McCarthy’s ousting from the speakership marked the first in U.S. history.

In an article for The Wall Street Journal, the California lawmaker announced his retirement from Congress.

“No matter the odds, or personal cost, we did the right thing,” he wrote. “It is in this spirit that I have decided to depart the House at the end of this year to serve America in new ways.”

McCarthy’s decision to leave Congress leaves the future of the current GOP House majority at stake, considering that Republicans recently expelled one of their own in former Rep. George Santos (R-NY).

McCarthy was fired from the House Speaker position after eight House Republicans initiated a motion to vacate, citing the California lawmaker’s decision to work with Democrats to keep the federal government open instead of risking a shutdown.

McCarthy was replaced by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA).

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Johnson reacted to McCarthy’s announcement, saying that the former House Speaker “served faithfully and sacrificed substantially for the good of our country and our cause.”

While speaking with reporters, Johnson called McCarthy a “long and trusted friend” and expressed discontent to “see him go.”

In contrast, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy from Congress, responded to McCarthy’s announcement with one word: “McLeavin.”

Gaetz argued that McCarthy shouldn’t have left Congress because his departure leaves House Republicans with a narrow majority.

“I think he should have stuck around and helped us hold a strong majority,” the Florida congressman told reporters. “But he left.”

Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) also offered his thoughts on McCarthy’s announcement, saying, “I surely will miss him, but I think the House will miss him more.”