“You’ve got folks right now blaming Democrats for ousting Kevin McCarthy,” Steele said on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut.” “And I’m like, wait a minute, did I miss the 15 votes it took Kevin McCarthy to convince his Republicans, who had the majority, to make him speaker?”
He went on: “Did I miss what he did with that speakership, when he said to Matt Gaetz, ‘Oh, we will no longer require 20 votes in the House to vacate the chair, we’ll give the power to one member only?’”
“I don’t remember the Democrats calling for the vacating of the chair,” he continued. “So you know, we’ve got to get the narratives correct here, and the Democrats need to get in front of this because you’re getting blamed right now for ousting the speaker of the House.”
McCarthy served a tumultuous nine months as House speaker after a protracted bid for the gavel that saw him make concessions to win over a hard-right faction of his caucus led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).
Those concessions included the key rule change that led to his ouster: allowing for any single House member to file a motion to force a no-confidence vote to remove the speaker.
Gaetz filed the resolution earlier this week, prompting Tuesday’s vote. Eight Republicans voted with all Democrats to take McCarthy’s gavel.
House Democrats expressed an unwillingness to give him the votes to retain his leadership post, criticizing him for pandering to extremists, lacking principle and failing to unite his caucus to govern.
McCarthy narrowly averted a federal shutdown last week by turning to Democrats for support to pass temporary spending legislation after members of his own conference refused to cooperate. He then tried to blame Democrats for the fiasco.
Even though it was a Republican who filed the motion to vacate, and McCarthy lacked the votes from his own party to save him, many GOP pundits and politicians are already trying to scapegoat Democrats for McCarthy’s dethronement.
Watch Steele’s commentary on MSNBC below.