Pelosi absent from vote on McCarthy's ouster as House speaker, still got caught in fallout of leadership change

October 4, 2023
Ben Marquis

In a historic development Tuesday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted from that leadership role less than a year after taking up the gavel following a motion to vacate filed against him by perpetual critic Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who was joined in voting for McCarthy's removal by seven other disgruntled Republicans and 208 Democrats.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was not in Washington D.C. to witness the downfall of her successor, however, and per a spokesperson, was "saddened" to have to miss the critical vote, according to the Washington Examiner.

Pelosi was absent because she has been in her home state of California to take part in the funeral and memorial service for her personal friend, the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who passed away last week at the age of 90.

Pelosi ordered to vacate special office in Capitol building

Even though Rep. Pelosi was not physically present for the successful vote on the motion to vacate Rep. McCarthy's speakership, she nonetheless was involuntarily involved in the turmoil that enveloped D.C. and the Capitol building on Tuesday.

That is because, as CNN reported, Pelosi was ordered Tuesday evening to "vacate" a special office she maintained in the Capitol building as the former speaker in addition to her regular office with all other House members in the nearby Cannon building.

That order came from Interim Speaker Patrick McHenry (R-NC), a close ally of McCarthy who assumed the leadership role following the ouster, who informed Pelosi via email that she had until the following day to remove her belongings from the special "hideaway" office in the Capitol building as it had been reassigned for speaker office usage.

According to the New York Post, a similar message was also sent by McHenry to Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), a former top leader of House Democrats, to also vacate the extra office he kept in the Capitol building and return all of his belongings to his regular office in the Cannon building.

The Post noted that due to Pelosi's absence and inability to clear all of her stuff out of the special Capitol office on McHenry's order, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries reportedly dispatched some of his staffers to help Pelosi's crew clean out the office Tuesday evening.

Pelosi angrily snarks at office eviction notice

CNN noted that Rep. Pelosi raged in a snarky statement at being booted from her special Capitol office while she wasn't even there, and said, "With all of the important decisions that the new Republican Leadership must address, which we are all eagerly awaiting, one of the first actions taken by the new Speaker Pro Tempore was to order me to immediately vacate my office in the Capitol."

"Sadly, because I am in California to mourn the loss of and pay tribute to my dear friend Dianne Feinstein, I am unable to retrieve my belongings at this time," she continued.

"This eviction is a sharp departure from tradition. As Speaker, I gave former [GOP] Speaker [Dennis] Hastert a significantly larger suite of offices for as long as he wished," Pelosi added. "Office space doesn’t matter to me, but it seems to be important to them. Now that the new Republican Leadership has settled this important matter, let’s hope they get to work on what’s truly important for the American people."

A consequence for breaking a promise to support McCarthy?

Though certainly unconfirmed, there is some speculation that Interim Speaker McHenry may have evicted Rep. Pelosi from her special Capitol office as a form of retaliatory consequences on behalf of now-former Speaker McCarthy over an alleged broken promise, as USA Today reported that McCarthy claimed that Pelosi had vowed to support him remaining as speaker if he were to face a motion to vacate challenge from one of his own caucus members.

Yet, in the days leading up to the vote, Politico reported that Pelosi had urged her fellow House Democrats to not step in and save McCarthy with a vote to preserve his speakership as he had proven himself to be untrustworthy, as well as that House Republicans should be forced to deal with the mess of their own making in terms of their internal squabbling over leadership.

That said, if what McCarthy shared is true, and Pelosi really did vow to back him if he faced an internal challenge when he reportedly sought her advice during his tumultuous 15-round bid to be initially named speaker in January, then the California congresswoman has proven once again that she is also quite untrustworthy and her promises are empty and meaningless.

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