When eight turncoat Republicans joined all House Democrats in ousting Speaker Kevin McCarthy, I thought the most likely scenario was that after a week or so, the rebels would relent and McCarthy would be reinstated. But earlier today, McCarthy said that he is done:
McCarthy spoke and took questions for 45 minutes after announcing his intentions to step down to his GOP colleagues in a closed-door meeting.
“I believe I can continue to fight, maybe in a different manner,” McCarthy told a packed Capitol room outside the Speaker’s office. “I will not run for Speaker again, I’ll have the conference pick somebody else.”
That might not be the last word. Maybe McCarthy’s colleagues will summon him back, and maybe he will relent. But what else might happen? This evening I attended an event at which I spoke with a Minnesota politician who says he is a close friend of Tom Emmer, the House Majority Whip. He claimed to have talked with Emmer, who “didn’t rule out” a run for the Speaker position. I discounted that as politician-speak, expecting McCarthy to be reinstated. But if McCarthy really is out, Emmer is an obvious possibility–and one that McCarthy might endorse.