House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) revealed why he skipped House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) retirement speech on Thursday.
“I had meetings, but normally, the others would do it during votes—I wish she could have done that, I could have been there,” McCarthy told reporters after Pelosi’s speech ended. McCarthy said that he didn’t watch any of it.
Pelosi had announced that she is stepping down from her Democrat leadership position in the House, after it was declared that Republicans recaptured the majority in the House of Representatives earlier in the week. The speaker said that she will remain in Congress and will not seek another term in leadership.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) also announced he is stepping down and endorsed top Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) as majority leader. It’s not clear if Jeffries, the head of the House Democratic Caucus, will face any challenge from other House Democrats.
McCarthy, meanwhile, was elected as leader of House Republicans earlier this week. He beat back a challenge from Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).
U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks on the House floor in Washington on Nov. 17, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Video footage of Pelosi’s speech showed that among the House Republican leadership, only House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) attended the event. Only a handful of House GOP members were there.
Other than Pelosi and Hoyer, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) issued a statement saying he would also step down from his position.
“Speaker Pelosi has left an indelible mark on Congress and the country, and I look forward to her continued service and doing whatever I can to assist our new generation of Democratic Leaders which I hope to be Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, and Pete Aguilar,” Clyburn said in a statement.
Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that Pelosi had a “remarkable” run, although he’s long said he disagrees with her policy proposals. “Totally dominant,” Gingrich told The Associated Press of her in an interview. “She’s clearly one of the strongest speakers in history. She has shown enormous perseverance and discipline.”
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.