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'Chaos and incompetence': Texans in Congress react to McCarthy's removal as U.S. House Speaker

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., leaves the House floor after being ousted as Speaker of the House at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., leaves the House floor after being ousted as Speaker of the House at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023.

Following the historic ouster of former U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday afternoon, Texas Democrats in Washington wasted little time before calling out Republicans for wrecking their own house and now having to live with the consequences.

Meanwhile, some of Texas’ Republican congressional delegation rebuked the small-but-powerful group within their own ranks who voted with Democrats to remove McCarthy, labeling them as a selfish lot more concerned with themselves than with their constituents' needs.

The unprecedented vote was spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, who blasted McCarthy, a California Republican, for working with Democrats to avert a government shutdown late last week. Gaetz also accused McCarthy of not keeping promises he made to Republicans who supported his initial bid for speaker earlier this year, NPR reported.

There weren’t any defections among Texas Republicans in the House, with all representatives present voting to keep the first-term speaker (Two Republican members were absent).

After the vote – the first in the history of the U.S. Congress that successfully removed a speaker – Democrats said that the mess created in the U.S. House was of the Republicans’ own doing.

“Confounding to hear House Republicans asking to ‘preserve’ this institution. These are the same folks who tried to overturn an election, defend insurrectionists, and show porn at hearings,” U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, posted on social media, referring to speeches made by McCarthy supporters just before the vote. “You can’t claim to want to preserve the same institution you’ve tried to burn down.”

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, said the only way to undo the damage House members inflicted on themselves was to replace the Speaker, offering advice to Republicans who were immediately tasked with searching for options on how to move forward.

“Whoever is elected cannot be less trustworthy nor less arrogant than Kevin McCarthy, who shares so many characteristics with the leader to whose tune he dances, Donald Trump,” he said. “Nor is this the time for a ‘deal’ with McCarthy, who would breach any agreement with Democrats as quickly as he breached his prior agreement with President Biden to avoid default and a shutdown.”

U.S. Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Dallas, celebrated the news and said the former leader simply couldn’t contain the far-right faction of his own party.

“I just voted to end the speakership of Kevin McCarthy,” she posted. “His tenure has been marked by chaos and incompetence. He can't control his extremist MAGA members, and this is the result.”

Some Republicans, meanwhile, lamented the state of their party and blamed a select few for placing personal grievances above governing.

“A handful House members just want to blow up the institution and themselves in the process. Sad,” U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas posted. His post appears to be a response to a question from another social media user about Cornyn likening the move to remove McCarthy to a “terrorist” attack.

Congressman Dan Crenshaw, R-Houston, said the far-right members’ collusion with Democrats shows their loyalty is to themselves and not the people they represent.

“If you’re voting with every single Democrat in the House to oust a Republican Speaker, it’s not about winning for your constituents. It’s not about winning for conservatives. Based on all the fundraising emails we are seeing, it’s only about personal attention,” he said. “There are people who fight for you, and people who fight for your attention. Big difference.”

Copyright 2023 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

Julián Aguilar | The Texas Newsroom