(Daily360.com) – After former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy was stripped of his position recently there was visible hostility among Republicans within the House. Once the process was complete, the formality of tapping the gavel to conclude the session created a bit of a viral video moment.
The video showed a man in a bowtie slamming the large gavel down seemingly as hard as he could in anger and then checking the gavel to see if he had damaged it. That man is Kevin McCarthy ally and North Carolina Republican Representative Patrick McHenry, who is now the Speaker Pro Tempore, meaning “temporary acting speaker.” In this position McHenry has limited powers compared to an elected speaker; his main duty is to conduct the orderly process of electing a new speaker.
One power that McHenry has and immediately used was his authority to order Nancy Pelosi to vacate her Capitol hideaway office. Pelosi was the Democrat speaker prior to Republicans winning the House in 2022 and eventually electing McCarthy to that position after 15 rounds of voting in January. “Hideaway offices” are few in number within the Capitol. They are reserved for senior members of the House and are assigned at the pleasure of the speaker. McCarthy let Pelosi keep the office as a courtesy after he assumed the position. However, McHenry sent an email to Pelosi informing her that she had one day to vacate the office as it would be “re-keyed” the following day.
Pelosi (D-CA) made comments to the media expressing her annoyance at the disrespect she believes McHenry showed her. She opined that the House has many important matters to take up and asking her to vacate her office was a petty waste of time. She called it a “sharp departure from tradition” and compared it to her decision to let former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) remain in an even larger hideaway office for as long as he liked. She also told the media that McHenry should be focused on legislating. Although seemingly offended, Pelosi said the decision does not matter to her but “seems to be important” to Republicans.
Washington insiders believe Pelosi was stripped of her office by McHenry at the behest of former speaker McCarthy. Reports and statements from McCarthy himself claim that Pelosi told McCarthy that Democrat members of the House would be there for him should he need them. However, none supported him during the motion to vacate, which saw McCarthy become the first speaker ever removed in this manner. Had just four Democrats voted not to vacate, Kevin McCarthy would still be Speaker of the House.
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