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Tense moment between Matt Gaetz and Kevin McCarthy during 14th vote for speaker of the House

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), second left, gestures at Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and others gathered to try and convince holdouts to change their vote during the House’s 14th vote to select a speaker, late on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023.Kenny Holston/NYT

Rep. Matt Gaetz and Rep. Kevin McCarthy seemed to share a tense moment after Gaetz voted “present” during the 14th ballot for House speaker Friday night, narrowly denying McCarthy the speaker position again.

A C-SPAN clip showed McCarthy talking to Gaetz. As McCarthy walked away, someone off camera was heard yelling, and McCarthy strode back toward Gaetz before being intercepted. More words were exchanged. The scene marked an uncharacteristic show of emotion for the normally composed McCarthy, who had endured four days of rejections in his bid to become Speaker of the House.

The charged situation continued, with Alabama Representative Mike Rogers also exchanging words with Gaetz. Rodgers appeared to be held back physically by Representative Rich Hudson of North Carolina during the exchange.


Below are more scenes from the exchange.

Rep. Matt Gaetz exchanges words with Rep. Kevin McCarthy after the 14th vote for speaker. Kenny Holston/NYT
Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL) (C) is restrained by Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) after getting into an argument with Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in the House Chamber during the fourth day of elections for Speaker of the House. Anna Moneymaker/Getty

Rogers continued to be restrained. Anna Moneymaker/Getty
The incident occurred as McCarthy was narrowly denied the speaker position on the 14th vote. Anna Moneymaker/Getty