'Tense Moment': A Near-Fight Highlights House Drama

Before Kevin McCarthy's winning vote, a chaotic stretch that includes a call from 'DT'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2023 6:44 AM CST
Crazy House Moments: A Near-Fight, a Call From 'DT'
Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., left, pulls Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., back from a confrontation with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Kevin McCarthy finally got enough votes to become House speaker, but it required high drama that nearly escalated into physical confrontation. A look at some key moments in the approximately half-hour between the 14th and 15th ballot:

  • Near fight: The most dramatic moment happened when Mike Rogers of Alabama angrily approached Matt Gaetz of Florida on the House floor and had to be restrained by their fellow Republican, North Carolina's Richard Hudson, reports the AP. This happened after the 14th vote, when Gaetz opted again not to vote for McCarthy, despite an apparent deal to do so.
  • More on that: “It was a very tense moment, and I was just trying to play a role to keep the tensions down," said Hudson afterward. Rogers declined to comment. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she expects Rogers to be disciplined, per Fox News. "Mike Rogers lost his temper and was basically going to, you know, put his hands on Matt," Greene said. "That was completely out of line, and then I'm sure it'll be dealt with."

  • Trump calls: Greene called former President Trump after the 14th vote (at the request of Chief Deputy Whip Guy Reschenthaler), and Trump then talked to holdouts including Gaetz and Lauren Boebert, reports the Politico Playbook. But when Greene tried to hand the phone to holdout Matt Rosendale, he refused to take it and told Greene not to put him in that position. See an image here. The phone's screen reads "DT," per the Washington Post. Later, Trump took credit for breaking the logjam. "Thank you, I did the Country a big favor," he posted on Truth Social, per HuffPost.
  • Face to face: After his surprise loss in the 14th round, a clearly peeved McCarthy strode over to Gaetz. “Matt, come on,” he said, per the Playbook. "You've made your point. People have to go home.” Gaetz "jabbed his finger as he refused," per the New York Times. (Gaetz had reportedly asked McCarthy to adjourn until Monday just before the 14th vote on Saturday night because he knew he didn't have the votes.) As McCarthy was walking away, the aforementioned incident with Rogers and Gaetz went down. "Stay civil!" a voice could be heard shouting.
(More Mike Rogers stories.)

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