“I’m going to spend time with my family,” he said, though the remarks were largely drowned out by lawmakers’ shouting, according to Republicans familiar with the meeting.
“I might have been given a bad break, but I’m still the luckiest man alive,” he told them.
At the same time, some Republicans are reviving his name as a speaker candidate, even as it remains unclear whether he’d accept it.
They argue no one else could get the 218 Republican votes needed to be speaker, they argue, as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Steve Scalise enter next week’s race as frontrunners that still might not be able to get over the top.
The “only workable outcome is to restore Kevin McCarthy as Speaker under party rules that respect and enforce the right of the majority party to elect him,” Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said in a statement on Thursday. “This depends entirely on several of the dissidents to disenthrall themselves from their decision and to repair the damage before it is too late. I appeal to them to act while there is still time.”
McCarthy is still expected to be active in GOP matters, whether he’s in the House or out.
“I’ll do anything I can to help almost all of you. Don’t worry, I’ve raised a helluva lot of money in the last hour,” he told his members during the Tuesday closed-door conference meeting, when he made clear he would not seek the gavel again.
Burgess Everett contributed to this report.