On the historic vote evicting Kevin McCarthy from the Speaker’s office, New York lawmakers in the U.S. House split along party lines.
Republicans voted to save McCarthy, while Democrats voted to oust him.
The dramatic shakeup came roughly 24 hours after a renegade hardline Republican officially filed a motion to kick him out of the job.
McCarthy's ouster was blasted by New York Republicans, including those in the state’s swing districts, who rallied around the Californian in the lead-up to the vote.
“I don't think certainly I nor the people I represent have the tolerance, the patience, or the interest in participating in some pseudo psycho political theater,” said Rep. Marc Molinaro.
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito touted the “great legislation” the House GOP passed during McCarthy’s tenure, including a border reform bill. “I think that right now, we should be focused on what matters most to the American people,” he said.
Across the aisle, it was a pivotal day for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn, the House Democratic leader.
In the lead-up to the vote, Democrats signaled they would follow Jeffries’ example. “I have a simple rule in life: in Hakeem Jeffries I trust,” Rep. Ritchie Torres said the night before the vote.
Democrats had the option to throw McCarthy a lifeline, crushing the motion to vacate. Instead, Jeffries opted to give the go-ahead on booting McCarthy from his job.
In a letter to his Democratic colleagues, Jeffries blasted McCarthy’s decision to launch an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden. He also criticized House Republicans for adding “poison pills” to the annual defense bill and for “backing out” of a deal crafted to avoid default.
“This is a guy who wants to impeach the president … He cannot be trusted. He's a liar,” Rep. Nydia Velazquez said.
McCarthy “has been co-opted by the extreme MAGA wing of his party and Donald Trump, and he has been acting at the behest of Donald Trump throughout this entire Congress,” Rep. Dan Goldman said.
Republicans, including Rep. Mike Lawler and Nicole Malliotakis, criticize Democrats, saying they voted in step with the far right of the GOP.
“Democrats can talk all day about the need to protect democracy. But here they just upended it with eight Republicans, including Matt Gaetz, who they've spent years deriding, but teamed up with to create a constitutional crisis,” Lawler said.
“It is a Republican Civil War, and we are fighting the far right that is being completely unreasonable and has no interest in governing, but the Democrats took a side. It’s not like they just left the chamber,” Malliotakis said.
Democrat Pat Ryan, meanwhile, issued a challenge to Republicans in competitive districts to work with Democrats.
“I think we're really at a moment where we need patriots to rise above the partisanship - five or more Republicans to unify with our coalition,” Ryan said.
What exactly comes next is up in the air. A temporary speaker is in place until a new speaker is elected. McCarthy said Tuesday evening he will not run again.