Ousted as House Speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is planning to leave Congress by the end of the year, he revealed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday.
In the op-ed, McCarthy said he was proud of the work House Republicans have done, including reducing the deficit, revamping work requirements for adults, promoting domestic energy projects, and keeping the government operating amid wars around the world.
“No matter the odds, or personal cost, we did the right thing. That may seem out of fashion in Washington these days, but delivering results for the American people is still celebrated across the country,” he wrote. “It is in this spirit that I have decided to depart the House at the end of this year to serve America in new ways. I know my work is only getting started.”
McCarthy continued: “I will continue to recruit our country’s best and brightest to run for elected office. The Republican Party is expanding every day, and I am committed to lending my experience to support the next generation of leaders.”
McCarthy was booted from his role as House Speaker in October following lengthy efforts by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), accusing him of cutting a “secret side deal” with Democrats on Ukraine, among other things.
McCarthy was ousted due to the votes of eight House Republicans—and many Republican lawmakers expressed their sadness to see the former leader’s forthcoming departure.
Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Calif.) called McCarthy “a great mentor and a wonderful friend” and said that “while I’m sad to see his time in Congress come to an end, I am grateful for his support and for all he has done for California, the House of Representatives, and our nation.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) similarly reacted to the news of McCarthy’s resignation, saying McCarthy’s constituents were “fortunate to have such an optimistic doer represent them for 17 years.”
“I am proud of the work we accomplished together in the Capitol, and I wish him the very best as he writes a new chapter,” McConnell added.
Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), who was outspoken in his opposition to McCarthy’s ouster, said Wednesday that he “greatly appreciate[s] his leadership, hard work ethic and kind friendship over the last 9 years,” and called him “the primary reason” Republicans hold the House majority today.
McCarthy “is a leader of conviction and I have been proud to stand alongside him,” said Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.)
“Speaker McCarthy encouraged me to run for Congress and has been an incredible advocate for our community & the nation,” Gimenez added. “We will miss you on the House Floor, my friend.”
Rep. Mike Collins (R-Ga.)—who voted to keep McCarthy as Speaker—simply posted a meme.
“Kevin McCarthy leaving Republicans with a 2 seat majority,” the text overlay reads.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) reacted only with a checkmark emoji confirming his previous prediction that McCarthy would soon leave the House.
And Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who led the effort to oust McCarthy, had a one-word reply.