Voting in a new speaker of the House is usually a boring affair. Not so with the 2023 version of the Republican Party. What should have been a mere formality dragged on for four days, to the boredom of many Democrats. It wasn’t resolved until the wee hours of Saturday morning. It took 15 votes for the chamber to elect former minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who was aggressively opposed by a small but pivotal faction of extremists within his own party. Things got so heated that a fight nearly broke out.
One of the ringleaders of the quisling cadre was Matt Gaetz, the longtime MAGA lawmaker who’s spent the last two years under investigation for ties to a sex trafficking ring. He was so against McCarthy taking the gig that he threatened to quit if he won. (We’ll soon see how serious he was about that one.) After the 14th time McCarthy lost — 15 times, as it turned out, was the charm — McCarthy himself stormed up to Gaetz, and shared a heated exchange. But it was another GOP representative, Alabama’s Mike Rogers, who took things further.
Rep. Hudson grabbed Rep. Mike Rogers by the face after he confronted Matt Gaetz. This happened right after Kevin McCarty Kevin McCarthy also confronted Matt Gaetz. First physical altercation on the floor of the House sknce 1985.
Complete meltdown. pic.twitter.com/gS5WkWeknK
— Alejandra Caraballo (@Esqueer_) January 7, 2023
What’s this shit? Mike Rogers of Alabama….? pic.twitter.com/kVKwkb8Wus
— GingerSnap 🤶 (@CackyC) January 7, 2023
As McCarthy headed back to his seat, Rogers swooped in and got visibly testy with Gaetz. It got so bad that he had to be restrained by fellow lawmaker Richard Hudson, who went so far as to grab his face with his hand. It’s not yet been public what Rogers said, or what McCarthy and Gaetz discussed during their own confrontation. But less than an hour later, cooler heads belatedly prevailed and McCarthy just barely clinched his dream job.
Should be a fun next two years in the House!