Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy suffered one defeat after another on Tuesday, but insists he will not give up his bid for House speaker as the fight turns into a bumpy second day.
“Is this the day I wanted to have? No,” he told ABC News. But he insisted he still felt “very good” and confirmed there was no scenario in which he was giving up on his speaking engagement.
“Let’s take a different perspective,” the California rep said. “You are sitting at 202 votes. So technically you only need 11 more votes to win. Is there anyone in the conference who can win? Alright, I don’t think it’s there. So we can go around in circles. Either it turns out that someone will make a mistake and elect a Democrat, or we will find a way to work together so we can govern.”
A fourth ballot for Speaker of the House is set to resume on Wednesday when the chamber reconvenes at noon after elected members adjourned shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday after three failed ballots to elect a speaker.
McCarthy’s emphasis on pragmatism, however, still doesn’t get him the 218 votes he needs to take the president’s gavel and it looks like he’s hedging his bets that some of the Republicans who oppose him could either back down or vote present, which could ultimately help him cross the line.
Still, there’s no guarantee that will happen and whatever perspective he takes, at the moment he still doesn’t have the votes.
Hours after the House adjourned, McCarthy emerged from behind closed doors and admitted it was not the day he had hoped for.
“I don’t really see it as a battle. It’s just that we’re not that far away. We only need 11 more votes to win,” McCarthy said. let us get it.”
McCarthy also said he spoke to former President Donald Trump on Tuesday night, telling ABC News that Trump reiterated his support for him during their conversation.
“He thinks it’s best for all Republicans to come together and solve this problem,” McCarthy said. “It doesn’t look good for Republicans, but we want to be able to solve it where we’re stronger in the long run, where what we’ve been through today, in the end, becomes positive that we’re actually focused. United.”
The chaos that ensued on Tuesday when the 118th Congress was called is now expected to spill over into Wednesday – possibly beyond – and the House cannot conduct any other business until a speaker is chosen. .
Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., who changed his vote for president in the third round, said on social media that “continuous votes don’t work.”
“Our conference needs to pause and huddle and find someone or work out next steps…but these continued votes aren’t working for anyone,” Donalds wrote. “When the dust settles we will have a Republican President, now is the time for our conference to debate and reach consensus.”