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Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to leave Congress, vows to remain in the fight for America

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, the California Republican said he “will continue to recruit our country’s best and brightest to run for elected office…”

U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy | Shutterstock

December 6, 2023 11:06pm

Updated: December 6, 2023 11:06pm

Rep. Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday he will resign from Congress by the end of the year. 

The former House Speaker announced his imminent departure in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, under the subtitle: “I'm leaving the House but not the fight.”

“No matter the odds, or personal cost, we did the right thing,” McCarthy wrote. “That may seem out of fashion in Washington these days, but delivering results for the American people is still celebrated across the country.

“It is in this spirit that I have decided to depart the House at the end of this year to serve America in new ways. I know my work is only getting started.”

Despite his reputation for being a diplomatic leader and uniter, the California Republican was the first House speaker in U.S. history to be removed from his leadership position. His ousting came after Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz led a rebellion of seven other legislators to vote McCarthy out in early October.

After McCarthy was removed, the House plunged into chaos and the Republicans could not reelect a speaker despite several attempts to install alternatives such as Reps. Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan.

After many failed votes, Rep. Mike Johnson from Louisiana was elected. One of his first moves as speaker was to separate aid packages for Israel and Ukraine from larger legislation.

He has since tried to compel Democrats and The White House to approve cuts to the IRS in exchange for support of aid to Israel and funding for border security to support aid to Ukraine.

“I will continue to recruit our country’s best and brightest to run for elected office. The Republican Party is expanding every day, and I am committed to lending my experience to support the next generation of leaders,” McCarthy wrote in the WSJ.

If the California Republican had remained in office, he would have faced a potential primary challenge for his seat, which he has held for 17 years since 2006.

McCarthy praised the system he was a part of despite the tumultuous ending it had in October.

“I never could have imagined the journey when I first threw my hat into the ring,” he wrote. “I go knowing I left it all on the field—as always, with a smile on my face. And looking back, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“Only in America.”