Joe Biden doesn't need to be asked to say a few words. When the President left the White House on Wednesday morning to board the helicopter in the park of his official residence, he went straight to the waiting reporters. It's "a bit embarrassing that it's taking so long and how they treat each other," Biden said of the spectacle that took place in the Capitol on Tuesday.
In three rounds of voting, the Republicans failed to elect Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the Chamber of Congress, despite their majority. Nothing like this has happened in the US for 100 years.
"The rest of the world is watching," says Biden. "That's not a good picture, that's not a good thing" for the country. He hopes the house turns around. He then climbs into the helicopter Marine One. His destination: the state of Kentucky. Occasion: Appointments on the subject of infrastructure. Spicy: Mitch McConnell, Republican minority leader in the Senate, is at Biden's side. He helped make Biden's infrastructure plan possible, while fellow party member McCarthy unsuccessfully opposed it.
While Biden and McConnell are united in Kentucky, McCarthy, the candidate so humiliated the day before, continues to fight for his long-awaited office. Group colleagues swarm in and out of McCarthy's office. Among them the right-wing MP and Trump supporter Jim Jordan, who received 20 votes in the third ballot on Tuesday evening and thus indirectly thwarted McCarthy's victory.
The mood among Republicans: extremely tense. McCarthy's supporters refer to those colleagues who voted against their own faction leader as "Taliban". Rep. Matt Gaetz, a right-wing Trump supporter and outspoken McCarthy critic, dismissed the scolding as "hurtful" before threatening in the same breath: "I, too, am prepared for a long fight that I will eventually win."
It is primarily the right-wing Freedom Caucus faction that opposes McCarthy. . For example, the right-wing conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene voted for McCarthy – albeit after making concessions for her.
Arguably the most important signal ahead of Wednesday's session of Congress comes from Florida and via the Truth Social network. Donald Trump, who left the dramatic election thriller uncommented on Tuesday, calls for McCarthy's election in the morning: "Don't turn a great triumph into a huge and embarrassing defeat," appealed the ex-president. McCarthy will do a good job, "and maybe even a great one." In recent years, McCarthy has always sought Trump's favor. The fact that Trump's intervention was so long in coming should actually give McCarthy food for thought.
From Wednesday, at 12 noon sharp, the house will meet again. Fourth ballot. McCarthy and Democrat Hakeem Jeffries are nominated again. So far, so to be expected. At 12:22 p.m., Republican and McCarthy critic Chip Roy rose. He nominates his parliamentary colleague Roy Donalds, 44, a backbencher from Florida, a conservative Afro-American. Donalds, says Roy, will defy the Washington "swamp" — a Trump favorite word. Referring to Donalds and Democrat Jeffries, Roy says, "For the first time in history, two black Americans have been nominated for the post of Speaker of the House." A standing ovation, including from the Democrats. McCarthy, against whom this candidacy is primarily directed, also stands up. Comedian JL Cauvin tweeted, "Tough MAGA Republicans nominating a black man is proving how much they hate Kevin McCarthy."
The counting candidate Donalds (yellow tie, sneakers) follows the ballot standing, at the back of the aisle that separates Democrats and Republicans. Again, for the fourth time in 24 hours, the names of the 434 deputies are called. Even with the letter C it is clear: McCarthy again misses the majority. When the faction leader is called and calls out his own name, there is a little applause. McCarthy raises his clenched fist in the air and smiles. Good face to the bitter game.
In the end, McCarthy only got 201 votes, fewer than ever. As before, Jeffries received 212 votes, Donalds 20 votes. "The spokesman has not been elected," said the leader of the meeting.
Immediately a fifth ballot. It is said that those around McCarthy had hoped for an adjournment of the House. The Democrats and parts of the Republicans, however, are opposed to it. Now the right-wing Trump supporter Lauren Boebert nominates party friend Donalds again. He will ensure "border security" and debt reduction, says Boebert. She brings Trump into play. "The President," meaning ex-President Trump, must tell McCarthy that he doesn't have the votes he needs, "and that it's time to retire." Boos and cheers in the plenum. Laughter from the Democrats.
At the end of the fifth ballot, McCarthy leaves the plenary session. It's a second undignified, humiliating day for the longtime faction leader. The man who hopes to sail into the speaker's office with a "red wave". The Republican landslide victory in November did not materialize. And now the faction is dismantled with its narrow majority.
The result of the fifth ballot, exactly as before: Jeffries 212, McCarthy 201, Donalds 20, one abstention. standstill. The Republicans are not getting their majority mobilized. Didn't McCarthy and many others count down to January 3rd? Didn't Republicans want to "Day One" take on their majority Hunter Biden? Don't they want to investigate the FBI and the IRS? Didn't they want to rule? All of this is stopped as long as there is no speaker. The Republican navel-gazing, their self-blockade, makes the formation of committees and legislation a long time coming. The Republicans - they are currently America's largest non-governmental organization.
Late in the afternoon, Ballot Six, again the three candidates. While McCarthy's sixth defeat is looming, he has left his chair and is talking to colleagues at the back of the room. The plenum can be seen on the television channels, at times Biden's appointment with Republican top man McConnell in Kentucky. “Mitch, it wasn't easy to achieve this,” Biden says of the infrastructure package. “It wouldn't have happened without your hand. And I want to thank you for that.”
The minority leader McConnell and he "disagree on many things," says the president - and without saying it makes a point against the Republican fundamental opposition, the right-wing extremists, the Trump supporters. Republican McConnell is “a man of his word. If he gives you his word, you can count on it. And he is willing to find common ground to get things done for the country.”
McCarthy also messes up ballot six, the election result as before. The House adjourned the vote to Thursday.