Evening Brief: Breaking Point—McCarthy out, Trump on the edge

The cold war between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and nihilist Freedom Caucus Rep. Matt Gaetz finally turned hot today, as the two faced off in an ouster vote.

McCarthy lost.

Democrats made it clear early in the day that they wouldn’t bail out McCarthy, pointing to his actions on Jan. 6, his sucking up to Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago post-insurrection, his attempts to discredit the Jan. 6 committee, his sham Biden impeachment inquiry, his reneging on debt-limit deal, and his actions on national TV this past weekend, claiming Democrats wanted to shut down the government.

With McCarthy ousted (for now), we are in uncharted territory. Here’s what could happen. Unhappy House Republicans are reportedly already talking about expelling Gaetz from the House. Gaetz used Democratic votes to oust McCarthy, so it would be hilarious if Republicans then use Democratic votes to oust Gaetz. That would be bipartisanship we can all believe in! Democrats will happily assist Republicans in ousting any Republican they want, making the slim Republican House majority even slimmer.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump continued his unhinged tirades from a New York courtroom, where he continued to cry about the lack of jury trial. (His lawyers specifically didn’t request one. Was that a hilarious screwup, or was it done on purpose?) Trump also bizarrely claimed a courtroom clerk was Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer’s “girlfriend,” leading the judge to issue a gag order on Trump. Shockingly, Trump seems to have backed down! He removed the offending social media post, offering a good lesson to all the other judges in all the other Trump cases on how to handle his volatile theatrics. Separately, the judge had to clarify that Trump’s claims of an important courtroom win were false. Trump isn’t winning anything at the moment.

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