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Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., defended his decision to flip his vote for House speaker away from Kevin McCarthy in the third round of voting on Tuesday.
Donalds defended the move during a Wednesday morning appearance on “Fox & Friends,” saying he wants to see a resolution and believes McCarthy lacks the votes to become speaker.
“At that point we were basically deadlocked and it was clear we didn’t have the votes,” Donalds said of his Tuesday flipped vote. “So my thought is, if he doesn’t have the votes, what are we going to do as a conference? We either find someone to get to 218 or at a minimum, adjourn what we were doing and get off the floor so the needed negotiations can happen.”
Donalds voted in favor of McCarthy becoming speaker for the first two rounds of voting, as 19 Republicans broke away to vote for Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. In the third vote, Donalds joined them, and the chamber abruptly adjourned for an overnight recess.
The opposition to McCarthy is led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and several members of the Freedom Caucus, who demand more influence over the speaker and specific committee slots. Donalds said this opposition is about establishing a fresher approach to Congress as Republicans take the majority.
“For too long in the nation’s capital, everybody has just gone along with the next wave of leadership,” Donalds said. “And that’s not an anti-Kevin McCarthy statement, that is a statement about what a deliberative, open process means for the constitutional republic that is the United States of America.”
The House GOP caucus is set to meet Wednesday morning to strategize before returning to Capitol Hill at noon to resume voting. Donalds said he has yet to decide on his vote for Wednesday and still believes McCarthy has a path to victory.
“I think there is a pathway still for Kevin to become speaker of the House,” Donalds said. “But there is going to be work to be done to get there.”
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