A Historically Bad Day for Kevin McCarthy

Happy Wednesday! The dessert wars are over, people. In the age-old battle between handheld treats, Krispy Kreme has apparently decided the winner—offering to sell its majority stake in Insomnia Cookies to focus solely on doughnuts.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • The House of Representatives voted to vacate the chair yesterday afternoon, ousting Kevin McCarthy from the speakership—the first such removal in United States history. The final vote tally was 216-210, with eight Republicans crossing the aisle to vote with Democrats and remove the speaker. McCarthy announced last night he won’t run for speaker again, and Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina will serve as speaker pro tempore until a new speaker is chosen. Majority Leader Steve Scalise, Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, and former President Donald Trump have all been floated as possibilities.
  • The Labor Department reported Tuesday that job openings jumped from 8.9 million in July to 9.6 million in August, reversing three straight months of declining numbers in a sign the labor market still remains tight in the face of the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool hiring. The quits rate—the percentage of workers who quit their job during the month—stayed at 2.3 percent, and the number of layoffs and discharges held steady at 1.7 million.
  • Ford and General Motors (GM) laid off an additional 500 people at factories in Ohio and Illinois in response to last week’s widening of the United Auto Workers’ strike. “Our production system is highly interconnected, which means the UAW’s targeted strike strategy has knock-on effects for facilities that are not directly targeted for a work stoppage,” Ford said in a statement. Ford has laid off a total of 930 workers so far, and GM has laid off nearly 2,000 workers.
  • Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to three felony gun charges at his arraignment in federal court on Tuesday, with his attorney signaling during the proceedings that he plans to file a motion to dismiss the charges as unconstitutional. The plea comes after Hunter’s previous deal with prosecutors fell apart earlier this summer, and he was indicted again last month. 
  • The Treasury Department on Tuesday announced sanctions against 12 entities and 13 individuals based in China (as well as two entities and one person based in Canada) who are allegedly part of a large illegal network of fentanyl manufacturers and distributors. The move freezes the assets of the designated targets and prevents Americans from doing business with them.
  • The Armenian parliament ratified the Rome Statute yesterday, officially recognizing the International Criminal Court (ICC). The decision comes as Armenia’s relationship with Russia has soured after Russian peacekeepers failed to stop an Azerbaijani attack last month in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed region previously under the control of an ethnic Armenian group. The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia’s alleged child abductions as part of its war in Ukraine, meaning Armenia is now technically obligated to arrest Putin should he visit the country.
  • India reportedly ordered Canada to recall 41 of its 62 diplomats in the country as the two nations continue to squabble over the Indian government’s alleged killing of a Sikh nationalist—and Canadian citizen—on Canadian soil. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t confirm India’s order, but said yesterday, “Obviously, we are going through an extremely challenging time with India right now, but that’s why it is so important for us to have diplomats on the ground working with the Indian government and there to support Canadians and Canadian families.”
  • Laphonza Butler was officially sworn in as a member of the Senate on Tuesday, filling the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s open seat after being appointed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Butler was previously the president of Emily’s List—a political action committee that funds female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights—and a former labor leader in California. 
  • James Craig—a retired Detroit police chief and self-described conservative populist—announced yesterday that he is running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate seat in Michigan being vacated by the retiring Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow. Craig ran for governor of Michigan last year but was disqualified from the primary along with several other GOP candidates over signature forgeries on petitions to make the primary ballot. Mike Rogers—a former Michigan congressman who left office in 2015—is already running for the GOP nomination, and Peter Meijer is mulling a bid. Meijer, also a former congressman from the state, lost his House reelection bid in 2022 to a Trump-endorsed candidate in the primary.

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Democrats?

Kevin McCarthy talks to reporters following a House Republican Conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol on October 3, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Kevin McCarthy talks to reporters following a House Republican Conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol on October 3, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Minutes before 5 p.m. ET yesterday, Washingtonians in and around the Capitol building found the answer to a timeless question: If a gavel slams in the House and there’s no speaker around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Yes. Yes it does. 

For the first time in American history, lawmakers in the lower chamber of the United States Congress on Tuesday voted to remove the sitting speaker of the House. Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy—who announced last night he will not seek the gavel again—enjoyed the third-shortest tenure of any occupant of the office in U.S. history, and the briefest run since 1876. Despite retaining the support of the vast majority of his conference, McCarthy saw eight Republicans side with Democrats to vote against their own party leader, ousting the California Republican from his post in a 216-210 vote.

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