US: McCarthy ousted, now what?

After the ousting of Kevin McCarthy as House speaker, the US House of Representatives is in a deadlock. The government's budget cannot be passed until the post is filled. McCarthy has said he will not run again and there is speculation that former president Donald Trump could become his successor. Commentators voice concern.

Open/close all quotes
Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

Intent on causing chaos

Those who cripple the administration will feel the consequences themselves, notes Ilta-Sanomat:

“You get what you order. The saying applies perfectly to the situation now in which the US House of Representatives is without a speaker and in complete chaos. That is exactly what Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz had promised: that he would drain the 'swamp' in Washington, in other words shake up the political elite. Gaetz's methods are chaos and division. ... Matt Gaetz's constituency in Florida will suffer if the federal administration is shut down because of budget disputes. A large number of military veterans live there, and their benefits are guaranteed by the state. So Gaetz's constituents are sawing at their own branches. But hey, they're getting just what they wanted - chaos.”

Berlingske (DK) /

Time for cooperation across divides

The moderates of both parties must now come together and cooperate, Berlingkse urges:

“In a hyper-polarised political climate like that in the US today, some of the ideas behind the grand coalition experiment make a lot of sense. ... Therefore, the Democrats should reach out to the right and offer to help find a new House speaker. And this will also require compromises on the part of the left. The most obvious of these is to accept a bigger budget for border controls in exchange for preserving Ukraine aid and preventing a shutdown.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Turmoil could take on global dimensions

The chaos could spread like a shock wave beyond the country's borders, Jutarnji list fears:

“The term chaos is not an exaggeration to describe the state of US politics after McCarthy's ousting. The word is being used by all relevant media, but also by American politicians themselves. ... The Washington Post even suggests that the Republicans could lead the country not only into a shutdown of public services but also to the brink of default - or failure to service the national debt. Should the latter occur, we can expect chaos across the planet.”

Le Temps (CH) /

Trump benefits from the weakening of the House

Trump knows how to exploit the divisions among Republicans, Le Temps observes:

“After blowing into the embers, Donald Trump is now pretending to be concerned about the Republicans' internecine war. In reality, however, he is the leader of the pyromaniac fire brigade, posing as a saviour from all the chaos. He is making less and less a secret of the fact that if he returns to the White House he will strengthen presidential power. In view of this worrying agenda, the weakening of Congress, which is an essential counterweight, is not such bad news for him.”

Ostap Yarysh (UA) /

Support for Kyiv on hold

McCarthy's departure will have repercussions for Ukraine, writes Ostap Yarysh of Voice of America's Ukrainian service on his Facebook page:

“What does this mean for Ukraine? At this stage, the deliberations on new funds for Kyiv have been postponed indefinitely. Now the House of Representatives must elect a new speaker. Until then, congressmen won't be able to vote on other pressing issues either. Will support for Ukraine depend on who is elected as the new speaker? Yes. The speaker sets the priorities for legislation, decides which votes are brought to the floor, and sets the general political agenda.”

Yeni Şafak (TR) /

All about control

Although the right wing will probably fail to achieve its goals it at least wants to signal that it controls the party, says Yeni Safak:

“In the next six weeks the negotiations to pass a one-year budget will continue and it will probably not be possible to reach a compromise until the last minute. Gaetz, who acted relatively early by not waiting for the end of this process, will probably fail. However, it's clear that some members of the party's far-right wing want to control its agenda by sending McCarthy the message: 'Either you're on our side or you're a traitor'.”

La Repubblica (IT) /


La Repubblica describes the move as fratricide:

“The US is without a speaker in the House of Representatives at a time when it was supposed to pass the budget bill for funding the government, including military aid for Ukraine in the crucial phase of the counter-offensive - and all because a small minority of extremist and Trumpist Republican congressmen voted yesterday to remove the Speaker of their own party. ... A fratricidal internal struggle that shows how the dominance of the former president and new candidate for the White House is dividing not only America but also his own party. ... The madness that has gripped the party once led by Lincoln is paving the way for autocrats like Putin and Xi.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Systematic sabotage

The extremists are causing chaos again, writes De Volkskrant:

“The ousting of the speaker is triggering another leadership struggle in the House of Representatives. It took McCarthy 15 rounds of voting back in January to win his post: an example of the division within the Republican Party and the willingness of the radical right to openly sabotage day-to-day politics. Donald Trump even cheered them on in recent weeks: 'Unless you get everything, shut it down!' he demanded. Then on Tuesday he acted as if nothing had happened on social media. 'Why is it that Republicans are always fighting among themselves?' he asked rhetorically. 'Why aren't they fighting the Radical Left Democrats who are destroying our country?'”

De Standaard (BE) /

All about raising his own profile

De Standaard points to contradictions regarding the policies advocated by Gaetz:

“The Republicans traditionally favour low taxes and a small state apparatus. But Gaetz likes to tell his voters that his own Republicans are almost as profligate as the miserable Democrats. ... The irony is that Gaetz gets so worked up about the government deficit getting out of hand, even though it was precisely during Donald Trump's presidency that it grew most rapidly. Yet Gaetz voted for Trump, of all people, to become Speaker in January. ... This shows how little Gaetz really cares about coherent balance sheets and how he is just focused on sabotage and raising his own profile.”