Patrick McHenry named interim House leader after McCarthy ousted

Washington DC - Patrick McHenry, a Republican from Lincoln County, will serve as interim speaker of the House of Representatives until someone is chosen to succeed Kevin McCarthy of California, who was ousted Tuesday.

Republican Patrick McHenry will serve as interim US House speaker until someone is chosen to succeed Kevin McCarthy of California, who was ousted Tuesday.
Republican Patrick McHenry will serve as interim US House speaker until someone is chosen to succeed Kevin McCarthy of California, who was ousted Tuesday.  © Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

McHenry (47) began his Congressional career in 2002 and served as one of McCarthy’s top allies in his role as House speaker.

The position of speaker has a secret list of successors, and McHenry was the top choice. It remains unclear when a permanent replacement for the speaker could be chosen, however.

McHenry told McClatchy Tuesday before the vote, when asked about becoming speaker, that his entire focus was on ensuring that McCarthy maintained his leadership role. After McCarthy was voted out Tuesday afternoon, McHenry took control of the House and closed the hearing with a slam of his gavel.

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It was an unprecedented moment in US history as no House speaker has ever been removed with a resolution to oust them. When McCarthy made a deal in January with the far-right House Freedom Caucus in exchange for their votes, he agreed to reduce the number of House members needed to call for his ousting to just one. Representative Matt Gaetz took advantage of that deal on Monday night, making a motion to remove the speaker because of McCarthy's secret deal with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown.

Before the vote, Charlotte Republican Representative Jeff Jackson wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, "The Speaker denied his right-flank the shutdown they wanted, so this week they’ll try to fire him." Jackson and other Democrats joined that right flank. House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said Democrats voted to oust McCarthy because of the GOP’s "unwillingness to break from MAGA extremism," CNN reports.

North Carolina Republicans all voted to keep McCarthy, including Representative Dan Bishop, a Charlotte-area Republican who’s running for NC attorney general. In a statement, Bishop said that McCarthy is an accurate reflection of the House Republican Caucus and that "one person’s play call with roughly 5-7 potential supporters portends no path toward success." Bishop clarified that, as he’s leaving Congress shortly and thus didn’t "want to impose this burden on an institution from which I am soon to depart."

Congress now has until November 17 to pass a spending bill to avert a government shutdown – but cannot operate until a new speaker is chosen.

Cover photo: Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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