Here is the chain of events as I understand them. Yesterday Matt Gaetz filed his motion to vacate. Last night then-Speaker McCarthy challenged Gaetz on Twitter to “bring it on.” Today McCarthy decided to hold the vote at the first opportunity rather than wait. It quickly became apparent McCarthy would lose the vote. He did lose the vote. Then a few hours later he told his caucus that he wouldn’t be running to get the job back. He was out for good.
His colleagues were apparently stunned by the announcement. His allies were prepping for a grueling fight to regain the Speakership. The length of time between McCarthy’s ouster and his announcement was roughly two hours. That’s enough time to have a few conversations and get the impression it’s too high a hill. But just barely. It’s hard to look at these facts and not conclude that McCarthy simply didn’t have the fight in him.