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U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin Dietsch/Getty Images

(LifeSiteNews) — California Republican Kevin McCarthy has been ousted as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Congress voted 216-210 to vacate the Speakership around 4:45 p.m. EST Tuesday.

Firebrand Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz led the charge to replace McCarthy. He rallied seven other GOP lawmakers, including Representative Nancy Mace, to vote against him. All 208 Democrats that were present joined with them despite rumors some would support McCarthy to prevent his fall.

McCarthy had been attacked by Gaetz and a small number of MAGA Republicans in recent weeks for a variety of issues related to spending, monetary aid to Ukraine, and a failure to more aggressively pursue impeachment charges against President Joe Biden given mounting proof he and his son accepted money from Ukraine and China during his time as Barack Obama’s Vice President.

Gaetz characteristically delivered an impassioned speech on the House floor to explain his vote.

“Chaos is Kevin McCarthy,” Gaetz thundered, pointing to alleged lies McCarthy told him during his brief 10-month tenure.

“I think 33 trillion in debt is chaos … [we need] a series of reforms to this body.”

It is not clear who Gaetz has in mind to replace McCarthy, or how long finding his replacement might take. It is believed Ohio Representative Jim Jordan is considering a bid. Steve Scalise from Louisiana, the current House Majority Leader, is also believed to be gathering support.

On Fox News Tuesday night, Sean Hannity said persons close to Donald Trump said he would be open to the position, at least in the short-term.

While leaving the Capitol Tuesday, Gaetz cryptically told the media,“I would say that my conversations with the former president leave me with great confidence that I’m doing the right thing.”

Following his ouster, McCarthy held a press conference. He said he would not seek the office of Speaker again. He argued that Gaetz’s complaints about spending were red-herrings, and that the vote was simply “personal.”

At present, Republicans hold a slim 221-212 majority, with two vacancies. This is the first time a speaker has been removed in this fashion in U.S. history. Representative Patrick McHenry from North Carolina will serve as the interim Speaker.

Notable members of the chamber that voted against ousting McCarthy include Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Lauren Boebert, and Anna Paulina Luna, all of whom have been strong allies of Gaetz on various issues.

This story is developing …