Kevin: Hashtag No Regrets

This is your TPM evening briefing.
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 07: U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) celebrates with the gavel after being elected as Speaker in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 07, 2023 in Washingto... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 07: U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) celebrates with the gavel after being elected as Speaker in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 07, 2023 in Washington, DC. After four days of voting and 15 ballots McCarthy secured enough votes to become Speaker of the House for the 118th Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Ousted-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) exited Congress today, opting to retire early rather than finish his term after an utterly humiliating and unsuccessful eight months as speaker.

In a “no regrets!!”-vibed farewell floor speech, McCarthy acknowledged that “a few” of his colleagues punished him for doing what he thought was right but also still blamed Democrats for his ouster, saying he “disagreed with the votes on this one too” when thanking his colleagues “on the other side of the aisle” for their service. In the immediate aftermath of McCarthy’s ousting, the California Republican alluded to the fact that “the crazy eight led by Matt Gaetz” were instigators, but also mostly blamed Democrats for voting for his removal and grinding legislative work to a halt. That aura of bitterness hung over his speech, while he claimed he would “do it all again.”

“I knew the day we decided to make sure to choose to pay our troops while war was breaking out instead of shutting down was the right decision,” he said, referencing his decision to work with Democrats to pass a stopgap funding bill this fall. “I also knew a few would make a motion because they somehow disagreed with that decision. Do it anyways, I would do it all again.”

While we’re surprised he let himself be humiliated for so long, it was a surprising move for McCarthy to retire so quickly, rather than finishing out his term like most of his colleagues who have announced they’re not running for reelection. But, even if you’re a House Republican with stomach pains about your increasingly thin majority, it’s hard to blame McCarthy.

By retiring now, McCarthy risks decreasing the Republican majority in the House further just ahead of two more shutdown deadlines. With Rep. George Santos’ (R-NY) expulsion and speculation that Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) may leave office early after accepting a position as president at Youngstown State University, the number of Republicans who can rebel during crucial funding votes grows even slimmer still.

While Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) worked with Democrats to pass the laddered CRs that got him out of his first tenuous moment as speaker, that sort of approach is unlikely to fly again.

Of course, the vacancies won’t last long. California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) hasn’t yet scheduled a special election to fill McCarthy’s seat, but California state law requires a special election be held within 140 days of the vacancy, meaning the election will likely take place in the spring. The special election to replace Santos is scheduled for February 13, meaning the deadlines for funding the government outlined in both of the continuing resolutions will have passed before Santos and McCarthy are replaced.

The Best Of TPM Today

DC Appeals Court Does Its Part To Keep Trump Jan. 6 Trial On Track

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Supreme Court Will Hear Biggest Abortion Cases Since Dobbs — Kate Riga

What We Are Reading

The Story Behind Trump’s Gag Order Involves a Man Under Criminal Investigation for Stalking (Exclusive) — The Messenger

Jack Smith is still scrutinizing John Eastman — Politico

New York Republicans choose ex-Israel Defense Forces soldier as nominee to replace George Santos — NBC News

Latest Where Things Stand

Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for dv01 dv01 says:

    Kevin McCarthy — what a tool.

  2. Hey Kevin, don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

  3. Avatar for hoagie hoagie says:

    “Good riddance.”
    Rep. Jamie Raskin

  4. Kevin McCarthy, seen above just prior to smashing the fingers of a young child who got too near the Speaker’s podium.
  5. GOP speakers all quit or get canned early.

    I can only hope the same for Johnson… Except that creepy patronizing true-believer might actually be the heart of the beast. The cognitive dissonance and MAGA BS might be actually making him stronger.! This might be the worst possible timeline after all.

Continue the discussion at

106 more replies


Avatar for runfastandwin Avatar for playitagainrowlf Avatar for eggrollian Avatar for tigersharktoo Avatar for becca656 Avatar for chelsea530 Avatar for lastroth Avatar for alyoshakaramazov1 Avatar for thebishop Avatar for tao Avatar for serendipitoussomnambulist Avatar for darrtown Avatar for isakindamagic Avatar for 21zna9 Avatar for nobiru Avatar for noonm Avatar for brian512 Avatar for grack Avatar for erik_t Avatar for eaharrison Avatar for mrbill30560 Avatar for Paracelsus Avatar for Hatmama Avatar for Ethics_Gradient

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: