Rep. Donalds Explains Switching Vote From McCarthy in Speaker Election

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
January 4, 2023Politics
Rep. Donalds Explains Switching Vote From McCarthy in Speaker Election
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) talks with fellow Republicans after the new Congress failed to elect a new Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on Jan. 3, 2023. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) flipped his vote against Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for House speakership during the third round of voting on Jan. 3, despite voting for the Republican leader on the first and second ballots.

“These continuous votes aren’t working for anyone,” Donalds said in a Twitter thread following the flip. “When the dust settles, we will have a Republican Speaker, now is the time for our conference to debate and come to a consensus. This will take time,” the congressman wrote.

McCarthy’s defeat on Tuesday marked the first time in a century that the House failed to elect a speaker on the first vote. The chamber will meet at noon on Wednesday for another round of voting.

Although Republicans took control of the House this week, the slim 222-to-212 majority means the former House Minority Leader McCarthy can only lose no more than four votes from his Republican colleagues to become the next speaker of the lower chamber. But Donalds’s final ballot left the GOP leader a total of 202 votes, failing for a third time in a day to meet the 218-vote threshold.

McCarthy obtained 203 votes in the first and second ballots. All 19 Republicans who did not vote for him in the first round rallied behind incoming House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) in the second round, before Donalds decided to join the faction.

U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) (C) sits alongside colleagues as Representatives cast their votes for Speaker of the House on the first day of the 118th Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on Jan. 3, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“The reality is Rep. Kevin McCarthy doesn’t have the votes. I committed my support to him publicly and for two votes on the House Floor,” Donalds said, explaining his solo switch to Jordan in the third round. Although McCarthy had vowed earlier that day to continue holding votes as long as it took to win majority, Donalds suggested calling off the endless string of ballots.

“218 is the number, and currently, no one is there. Our conference needs to recess and huddle and find someone or work out the next steps,” he said.

The bitter battle came as McCarthy faces growing opposition from staunchly conservative members of the party who say he hasn’t performed well in the past as minority leader and will not institute changes they see as necessary if he assumes the speakership.

The 20 “no” voters include several loyal supporters of former President Donald Trump, as well as members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Jordan, however, supported McCarthy on all three ballots despite securing the opposition votes.

Donalds also received one vote on the first ballot from Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy.

Thus far, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who will serve as House minority leader in 2023, has the highest number of 212 votes, which he received from every House Democrat in all three rounds.

“Unlike the DEMs, who do leadership by acclamation, the GOP is having a deliberative process of what leadership looks like in the House,” said Donalds in another post later on Tuesday. “We know DC does not work. Having a deliberative discussion(it is messy at times) but in the long term, is in the nation’s best interests.”

His third vote stunned the chamber but also won a spatter of applause.

In an impassioned speech nominating Jordan on the third ballot, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) put the issue between McCarthy and the dissidents as one of how best to stand up to President Joe Biden and the Senate Democratic majority.

“How many times have we been down here giving speeches, and there’s not a soul in the chamber? Yet this is what it takes to get 435 people in the chamber and have an actual debate,” Roy said on the floor.

“The American people are watching, and that’s a good thing. What we’re doing is exercising our rights to vote and have a debate, and have a discussion about the future of this country through the decision of choosing a speaker.

“This is not personal. It’s not. This is about the future of the country. This is about the direction of the country.”

From The Epoch Times

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