Physical fight almost breaks out during House speakership vote

January 7, 2023

An actual physical fight between two Republicans almost broke out on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, Fox News reports

The situation occurred after the 14th vote, with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), for the 14th straight time in four days, failing to garner the 218 votes needed to become the next House speaker.

The two Republicans involved in the situation were Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Mike Rogers (R-AL). Physical restraint was used. Take a look:

What happened?

In that 14th vote, McCarthy came one vote shy of the number he needed to become Speaker, and Gaetz was part of the reason why, voting "present" rather than for McCarthy.

Afterward, McCarthy walked over to Gaetz. Fox reports:

Gaetz was discussing with Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the possibility of backing him in the next vote and appeared to mouth the word "committee." Gaetz is currently on the House Armed Services Committee, which is chaired by Rogers. McCarthy appeared to agree and returned to his seat.

Rogers, apparently, didn't like what he saw. And, the video shows him proceeding to confront Gaetz.

At this point, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) physically restrains Rogers from behind, placing one hand on Rogers' shoulder and the other over Rogers's mouth, while pulling Rogers backward. Rogers, looking at Gaetz, yells, "I won't forget this!"

McCarthy, for his part, briefly looked at what was going on before walking away.

It's over

After that fiasco, McCarthy, on the 15th vote, did end up being elected the next speaker of the House.

Fox separately reports:

The 15th and final vote for House speaker gave McCarthy 216 votes, a bare majority that was lower than the normal 218 votes needed because all six of his remaining GOP opponents relented and voted "present." Reps.-elect Andy Biggs of Arizona, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Elijah Crane of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Bob Good of Virginia and Matt Rosendale of Montana voted "present" in the final round.

McCarthy had to make numerous concessions in order to reach this point. These include allowing a single lawmaker to make a motion to elect a new speaker, holding a vote on term limits for congress members, agreeing not to increase the debt limit without meeting certain conditions, promising to put a committee together to investigate the weaponization of the government against U.S. citizens, and more.

McCarthy indicated that former President Donald Trump was instrumental in making the deal happen, saying, "This doesn’t get done without the support and leadership of President Trump."

Now, with the speaker being elected, House representatives have been sworn in and the 118th Congress can proceed.

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