(WASHINGTON) — Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy was dealt one defeat after another on Tuesday but insists he will not back down from his bid to for speaker of the House as the fight spills into a second day.
“Is it the day I wanted to have? No,” he told ABC News. But he insisted he still feels “very good” and confirmed there is no scenario where he is dropping his bid for speaker.
“Let’s take a different perspective,” the California representative said. “You’re sitting at 202 votes. So you need technically just 11 more votes to win. Is there anybody in the conference that can win? Okay, I don’t think that’s there. So we can go round and round. It’ll either turn out that someone will make a mistake and elect a Democrat or we’re going to find a way to work together to be able to govern.”
A fourth round of voting for the speaker of the House is expected to resume on Wednesday when the chamber gathers again at noon after members-elect adjourned shortly before 6 p.m. on Tuesday after three failed rounds of voting to elect a speaker.
McCarthy’s focus on pragmatism, however, still doesn’t get him to the 218 votes that he needs to take the speaker’s gavel and it appears he is hedging his bets that some of the Republicans who oppose him may either backtrack or vote present, which could help him eventually getting over the line.
Yet, there is no guarantee that will happen and no matter what 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 this wasn’t the day he had hoped for.
“I don’t really see it as a battle. I just — we’re not that far away. We only need 11 more votes to win,” McCarthy said. “I think everybody comes together so we’ll get that.”
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 better that all the Republicans get together and solve this,” 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 went through today, in the end, becomes a positive that we’re actually focused united.”
The chaos that ensued on Tuesday as the 118th Congress convened is now set to spill into Wednesday — possibly beyond — and the House can conduct no other business until a speaker is chosen.
Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., who changed his vote for speaker in the third round, said on social media that “continuous votes aren’t working.”
“Our conference needs to recess and huddle and find someone or work out the next steps…but these continuous votes aren’t working for anyone,” Donalds wrote. “When the dust settles, we will have a Republican Speaker, now is the time for our conference to debate and come to a consensus.”
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.