The road to getting House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA.) the Speaker’s gavel contained several bumps, including a near-brawl between two GOP lawmakers as McCarthy failed in the fourteenth ballot.
Following McCarthy walking away from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) after failing to convince the staunch holdout to vote in the affirmative, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) confronted Gaetz telling him he would regret his actions.
The moment Rogers confronted Gaetz, prompting Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C) to restrain the Alabama Republican by placing his hand on Rogers’s mouth, was captured by dozens of press pool cameras.
Gaetz and fellow holdout Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) sat unmoved. Finally, McCarthy walked back and resigned to adjourn the Speaker vote until Monday (January 9), which would have pushed voting into a second week.
While the confrontation between Gaetz and Rogers was ongoing, the Florida Republican pointed to his right bicep in a show of defiance.
Eventually, he would approach McCarthy, before the votes to adjourn were gaveled in, to explain he would change his vote to adjourn to “no” and reveal McCarthy would be successful on the 15th attempt.
The viral moment brought Republicans to the brink of what could have been one of the most unseemly moments for the lower chamber in recent history. But the tense moment ultimately brought Republicans back.
In the fifteenth ballot, Gaetz was joined by five other Republican holdouts in his “present” vote, lowering the 218 vote minimum and allowing McCarthy to win the Speaker’s gavel.
McCarthy would later thank Gaetz for helping him secure the gavel.