Speaker farce: Mike Rogers and Matt Gaetz nearly come to blows on House floor

Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., left, pulls Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., back as they talk with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and other during the 14th round of voting for speaker as the House meets for the fourth day to try and elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Andrew Harnik/AP

Speaker farce: Mike Rogers and Matt Gaetz nearly come to blows on House floor

Ryan King

January 06, 11:32 PM January 06, 11:32 PM

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Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) nearly came to blows with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) as frustrations exploded on Friday night in the House of Representatives, with the 14th ballot for speaker leaving Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) one vote short.

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) was seen physically restraining Rogers from barreling toward Gaetz after a heated exchange in which Gaetz seemingly refused to switch his vote from “present” to one in favor of McCarthy, putting an end to four days of stalemate.


McCarthy needed 217 votes to become speaker and was at 216, with Gaetz and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) voting present and four Republicans voting against. He was seen walking toward Gaetz before the vote was officially gaveled in, appearing to ask for his help, but Gaetz did not change his vote.

When McCarthy turned away, an irate Rogers was seen being restrained. McCarthy briefly turned around to assess the situation.

CSPAN has been given free rein with its cameras due to the lack of of a rules package as the speaker fight rages on.

McCarthy’s major rules concessions to the initial 20 holdouts were enough to move 14 to his side, but his staunchest critics held firm.

Earlier Friday, shortly after the 13th ballot, McCarthy expressed confidence he had enough votes to win.

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“When we come back tonight, we’ll have the votes to get this done once and for all,” McCarthy said while exiting the House chamber Friday afternoon. “It just reminds me of what my father always told me: It’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish.

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