Skip to content Skip to footer

“A Very Weak Speaker”: AOC Slams McCarthy as He Loses Speakership

“He clearly has lost control of his caucus,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talks with reporters in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall on January 12, 2023.

Breaking News Update: Late Tuesday afternoon, after the publication of this article, the House 216-210 voted to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) from his post as Speaker.

As the Republican-led House continues its deep spiral into chaos, progressive lawmakers are mocking and criticizing Kevin McCarthy (R-California), who is facing the threat of losing his speakership this week.

“Boy Math, Part 2: Motion to Vacate,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) wrote on social media on Monday, cracking a joke about the vote count calculus that McCarthy is having to perform to maintain his speakership.

Shortly after far right Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) filed a motion to oust McCarthy from the speakership on Monday, McCarthy welcomed the challenge. “Bring it on,” he wrote on social media.

By filing a motion to vacate McCarthy from the position, Gaetz kicked off a 48-hour window in which the House can vote to remove the speaker. The House is expected to vote on the motion on Tuesday, and McCarthy already lost a procedural vote early Tuesday afternoon.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) mocked McCarthy for his confidence. “It literally took multiple days and 15 votes for you to become speaker,” she said.

Indeed, the situation is currently looking dire for McCarthy, who agreed to a rule that allows only one lawmaker to file a motion to vacate as part of his speakership deal with the furthest right members of his caucus in January.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York) is directing the Democratic caucus not to help McCarthy, meaning that McCarthy would lose his position as long as the five Republicans who have publicly sworn to oppose him unite with all Democrats in voting to do so. For his part, McCarthy has sworn not to concede anything to Democrats to save his position.

Some Democrats have said that McCarthy has made too many concessions to the extremist wing of his party for Democrats to consider saving him.

“Kevin McCarthy has handed his gavel over to the extreme MAGA right wing of his party. We cannot save him from his own broken promises and lies,” wrote Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) on Tuesday. “Hakeem Jeffries is our Speaker. He always has been and he will continue to be.”

“Speaker McCarthy has shown he cannot govern,” House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Ted Lieu told reporters.

In an interview on CNN over the weekend, Ocasio-Cortez said she shared these sentiments. Democrats shouldn’t “give up votes for free,” she said, adding that she would “absolutely” vote to oust McCarthy if he continues to refuse to negotiate with Democrats.

“I think Kevin McCarthy is a very weak speaker. He clearly has lost control of his caucus. He has brought the United States and millions of Americans to the brink, waiting until the final hour to keep the government open, and, even then, only issuing a 45-day extension,” Ocasio-Cortez said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Omar, the deputy chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has said that a power-sharing agreement with the Democrats could be a pathway for McCarthy to win enough votes to keep the speakership. But, as the scuffle over a recent government funding bill demonstrated, McCarthy and Republicans seem to be willing to threaten to shut down the government in order to get what they want.

“The Republican Party right now is completely out of step with the American people,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We saw them go through every single iteration, walk into every single wall, run around the House like a Roomba, and until they found a door that House Democrats opened. They finally realized that we should not shut down the government in order to deny trans service members the ability to get health care, in order to deny female service members the ability to get an abortion.”

Don’t miss your chance to give for #GivingTuesday!

Millions of people are supporting nonprofits like Truthout for #GivingTuesday. Will you join them?

As an independent newsroom, Truthout relies on reader donations to remain online. Your tax-deductible donation of any amount — even a few bucks! — helps make it possible for us to publish award-winning journalism that amplifies the voices of changemakers everywhere.