Rep. Kevin McCarthy has been elected House speaker after multiple days of negotiations and 15 rounds of voting.
The final tally was 216 votes for McCarthy, 212 for Democratic House leader Hakeem Jeffries with six representatives voting "present."
Republicans previously agreed to nominate McCarthy, but his path to the speakership was uncertain after a group of GOP holdouts threatened to derail his bid.
Several days of gridlock gave way to dramatic moments late Friday evening. In the 14th round, an extraordinary scene erupted, with McCarthy confronting Rep. Matt Gaetz, whose vote on that ballot could have given him the role he has sought for so long.
In another extraordinary moment, Rep. Mike Rogers had to be held back after he lunged (photo below) at Rep. Matt Gaetz after the 14th round of voting. Rogers of Alabama then lunged at Gaetz and had to be held back by Rep. Richard Hudson before an all-out fistfight could break out on the House floor.
Here's video of that lunge moment:
BREAKING: Rep. Mike Rogers just lunged at Matt Gaetz.— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) January 7, 2023
This is getting INSANE.pic.twitter.com/ug9UjxNHHK
The Republican lawmaker from Alabama, a member of the House Steering Committee responsible for making committee chair recommendations, recently threatened the holdout Republicans who don’t vote for McCarthy that they will be stripped of committee assignments.
In an amazing twist, former President Donald Trump telephoned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green on the floor of the House as voting was proceeding. He personally convinced her to change her vote, and wanted to then speak to Rep. Mike Rosendale who waved-off taking the call!
Trump makes a call, Biggs votes present, Gaetz doesn’t have to change his vote, and Trump claims that he made McCarthy speaker.
After a failed motion to adjourn until Monday, McCarthy finally had the votes to secure the position.
The GOP only holds a slim majority in the chamber – 222 Republicans compared with 212 Democrats – which meant McCarthy could not afford many defections.
McCarthy represents California and previously served as House minority leader. McCarthy has already vowed to launch multiple investigations into President Joe Biden and his administration.
Now, the House can proceed with the rest of its business, including administering the oath of office to newly elected members.