Illustrating the disagreement with Gaetz’s attempt to remove McCarthy, the GOP conference turned off microphones on the Republican side just hours before the vote. This meant Gaetz had to voice his arguments from the Democratic side of the room. Gaetz, not one to shy away from controversy, is the offspring of a well-known former Florida Senate leader. He first drew public attention as a young member of the Florida House for his support of the state’s “stand your ground” law in 2013. He was elected to the U.S. House in 2016 and managed to weather a federal investigation into alleged sex trafficking.
McCarthy informed his fellow Republicans last night that he won’t pursue the speakership in the future. In the meantime, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) has taken on the role of temporary speaker. Gaetz departed the meeting early, and other members from Florida left the gathering later, visibly disappointed.