Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, will resign from his position by the end of December.
In an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, McCarthy declares himself to be an optimist.
“For 17 years I’ve served in the same congressional seat—the same office in which I was once denied an internship. Only in America,” he writes. He goes on to tout his accomplishments: “I helped lead Republicans to a House majority—twice. We got more Republican women, veterans and minorities elected to Congress at one time than ever before. I remained cheerfully persistent when elected speaker because I knew what we could accomplish.”
Despite accomplishments McCarthy has faced increasing pressure from his own party and from Democrats over his handling of the January 6th Capitol riot investigation and his relationship with former President Donald Trump. His determined effort to be elected Majority Speaker took an unprecedented 15 rounds of votes and he was ousted after only nine months after eight conservative hardliners argued that McCarthy had broken the terms of their agreement made during the initial speaker race by passing a clean stop-gap spending bill and forced a motion to vacate, which Democrats ultimately backed.
The ease with which he was ousted only further underscored how little support he had from his own Party colleagues and he subsequently continued to lose influence.
This decision to resign runs counter to his previous assertions that he had no plan to do so.
Multiple lawmakers said they were not surprised by his decision to leave, noting that it can’t be easy to lose influence after being replaced.
An embittered McCarthy has repeatedly taken aim at the eight Republicans that voted to oust him, with some members speculating that he will take extraordinary measures to unseat them. In an interview with CNN in November, McCarthy stated, “I don’t believe them to be conservatives,” referring to the 8 Republicans. “It’s driven by Gaetz, and it was all based upon an ethics complaint that happened in the last Congress. He would throw his country away to try to protect himself for what would come out as the truth.”
According to sources, McCarthy’s exit may not only affect the GOP’s fragile hold on their majority, but fundraising as well, since in his time as GOP leader and then as speaker, he was “a fundraising juggernaut for the party”, raking in $637 million for his two affiliated outside groups, the Congressional Leadership Fund and the American Action Network. And federal records show that McCarthy raised $78 million for four of his fundraising entities just this year.
Referring to the compromises he made to avoid a government shutdown during his time as Speaker, McCarthy avowed that he has no regrets. “I would do the exact same thing again to keep our government open, to fund our troops.”