Gaetz, Boebert Help Pull GOP Speaker’s Standoff Into Jan. 6 Anniversary

After another day of failed attempts to elect a House Speaker, Republican lawmakers shifted the battle for the gavel to the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Congressmen attempted a third day Thursday to break the stalemate, but California Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy failed to get enough votes in the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth or eleventh ballot. Hardline Conservatives in his party have refused to give him the 218 votes needed to become speaker. With a slim 222-seat majority, McCarthy can’t lose more than four GOP votes.

Over the past week, a group of 20 House Republicans repeatedly barred McCarthy from speaking. Even after making concessions on Wednesday night, his defectors returned for another day of opposition.

Now the vote approaches a fourth day — January 6, 2023, which also marks the two-year anniversary of the attack on the Capitol. The House was adjourned just after 8 p.m. ET Thursday and will resume at noon on Friday.

Two years ago, supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol to overturn the results of the 2020 election by preventing a joint session of Congress from confirming Electoral College votes. Five people died as a result of the siege and four Capitol Police officers who responded subsequently committed suicide.

Speaker January 6 McCarthy
Supporters of then President Donald Trump protest in front of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Rep. Matt Gaetz, pictured left, is shown at the Capitol on Thursday. Representative Lauren Boebert, pictured at right, is pictured in the Capitol Rotunda on December 9, 2021. Gaetz and Boebert helped bring the GOP rep standoff into a fourth day that will mark the two-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack.
Alex Edelman/Win McNamee/Michael Reynolds/AFP

A House committee investigating Jan. 6 has extensively investigated the riot and presented its findings in a series of public hearings over the past six months.

Less than a month ago, in its tenth and final hearing, committee members recommended that the Justice Department criminally indict Trump and others involved in the attack. The committee convicted Trump of five crimes, including inciting a riot, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstructing an official process, and conspiracy to make a false statement.

While the anti-McCarthy votes all went to various GOP lawmakers, those votes appeared to find consensus in the second through sixth ballots, rallying behind representatives like Byron Donalds and Jim Jordan.

However, those dissenters split again Thursday when Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz nominated a Republican who wasn’t in the House of Representatives: Trump. No other lawmaker voted for the former president, who himself endorsed McCarthy as speaker.

But Trump’s support seemed worthless to McCarthy’s critics, who even called the former president out of the house and urged him to reverse his support.

“[Trump] Kevin McCarthy has to say, sir, that you don’t have the votes and it’s time to pull out,” Colorado Republican Representative Lauren Boebert said Wednesday. Gaetz, Boebert Help Pull GOP Speaker’s Standoff Into Jan. 6 Anniversary

Rick Schindler

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