Andrew Harnik/Associated Press
- Rep. Kevin McCarthy failed to be elected speaker for the 14th time this week on Friday evening.
- The House floor descended into disorder after McCarthy and Rep. Matt Gaetz had a tense exchange.
- Rep. Mike Rogers appeared to lunge at Gaetz and was held back by Rep. Richard Hudson.
The US House of Representatives devolved into chaos Friday night after Rep. Kevin McCarthy failed to garner enough votes to be elected speaker for the fourteenth time this week.
A hardline faction of about 20 Republicans repeatedly voted against McCarthy on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but the representative from California made some progress on Friday morning, flipping 14 votes in his favor.
It still wasn’t enough to be elected speaker, which led to a round of voting late Friday night that resulted in the most disorderly scene in the House yet.
The vote was coming down to the wire when Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who led the charge against McCarthy all week, finally voted “present” — which would again leave McCarthy short, by one vote, of being elected speaker.
McCarthy got up from his seat to approach Gaetz and the two had a tense confrontation captured on C-SPAN, thanks to the fact that there are technically no House rules yet, which usually limit what the network can film.
—philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 7, 2023
It’s unclear what was said between the two, but McCarthy appeared almost solemn, while the firebrand from Florida was more animated, pointing, and gesturing with his hands.
Towards the end of the exchange, which lasted about a minute and a half, Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama could be seen confronting Gaetz as McCarthy walked away. CNN reporter Annie Grayer reported Rogers lunged at Gaetz, and the C-SPAN feed showed Rogers appearing to be held back by Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina.
Members of the House could be heard shouting as McCarthy turned back around towards the scene.
—Gene Park (@GenePark) January 7, 2023
Shortly after the exchange, the voting for speaker continued and McCarthy finished with 216 votes out of 432 — one short of the majority he needed. Deliberations continued on the House floor before the final vote count was called.
Rep. Patrick McHenry moved to adjourn Congress until Monday, but the vote failed, kicking off the fifteenth round of voting at around 11:45 p.m. local time on Friday.
A representative for Rogers did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.