Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday floated the possibility of retaking the post he was ousted from within a week, while two Republicans ran to replace him, highlighting deep divisions in the party.
Last week Mr. With the House deadlocked following McCarthy’s ouster and war unfolding in Israel after an invasion by the Palestinian militant group Hamas that has led to hundreds of deaths, the California Republican has worked to project normalcy and leadership. A large number of civilians were taken hostage by Israelis. He summoned reporters to the Capitol to lay out a plan to protect Israel and rescue American prisoners.
The appearance had all the trappings of his lost job; Mr. McCarthy spoke from behind a dais in the Raeburn Chamber, where the speaker often presided over official functions, and used the language of the party leader in times of crisis.
“Now is the time for action,” he said, “and we must be there for our friend Israel.”
But Mr. McCarthy is no longer speaker, and the event underscored the confusion among House Republicans, who are set to meet Tuesday to discuss who to nominate as his successor. A party vote is scheduled for Wednesday, followed by a formal election on the floor.
Mr. The two front-runners to replace McCarthy — Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican, and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the Judiciary Committee chairman — are vying for support, but the party is divided.
And he is angry and saddened by his removal at the hands of rebels in his party and still believes he deserves the post, Mr. He lamented how only 4 percent members of his party succeeded in ousting a Speaker who had 96 percent support.
“Let’s be honest in our conference,” Mr. McCarthy told reporters. “Is our convention going to throw someone out in 35 days?”
He singled out two of the wrongdoers, Rep. Matt Gates of Florida and Rep. Nancy Mays of South Carolina, known for their frequent media appearances as “a bunch of people who love the camera more than they love the American people.”
The outbreak of the Israel-Gaza war highlights the dangers of a leaderless council. With the chamber under the control of the interim speaker, lawmakers are questioning what authority they have to take action as a legislative body, including approving more aid to Israel.
Mr. McCarthy seemed to capitalize on those concerns. His plan to respond to Hamas attacks on Israel includes strengthening America’s borders and campaigning against anti-Semitism. He called for a freeze on any money to Iran and denounced what he called “the evil axis of Iran, Russia and China”.
But Mr. was expelled from his position. McCarthy noted that he was in no position to implement any plans.
“Unfortunately, the House cannot do anything without the Speaker,” he lamented.
Asked if he wanted his armor back, Mr. McCarthy said the decision was not his and that he would support whatever his fellow Republicans chose.
“I will let the conference make any decision,” he said.
Reflecting the uncertainty in their conference, Republicans planned a closed-door listening session on Monday, returning to Washington on a federal holiday to meet on the House floor to air their differences.
The speakership contenders were expected to present their case at a candidate forum later on Tuesday evening. A closed-door vote by Republicans to choose the party’s nominee is scheduled for Wednesday morning. If Republicans coalesce around a nominee, the House could hold a formal election as early as Wednesday afternoon, but with divisions among GOP lawmakers, the process could drag.
Mr. McCarthy’s allies have made it clear they believe his reinstatement is the best option.
“A lot of people believe that Kevin McCarthy is the right person to lead us,” Rep. Mike Lawler, Republican of New York, said Monday at the Capitol.
Mr. Mr. Trump said he insisted that the eight Republicans who pushed for McCarthy to become speaker should be “accountable.” Lawler said.
Mr. Gates and Mrs. Mac’s social media platform X previously hit back at their critics on Twitter.
“The former speaker wouldn’t be the former speaker if he spent as much time going after Chuck Schumer for not taking up our DoD military spending bill as attacking other Republicans.” Mrs Mages wrote.