House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries and now-former Speaker McCarthy enjoyed a strong working relationship, though Democrats declined to provide support for McCarthy ahead of the leadership challenge brought forth by Rep. Matt Gaetz.
Following the bipartisan vote that resulted in McCarthy’s removal, Leader Jeffries shared his reflections on his association with the Speaker. Jeffries, a staunch believer in the American dream, praised Kevin McCarthy’s remarkable journey from being the son of a Bakersfield firefighter to becoming the Speaker of the House, citing it as a testament to the “power of possibility” in America. He remarked, “In our democracy, everyday Americans can rise to the highest levels of governance and serve the communities from whence they came in the halls of Congress,”
Despite their ideological differences, Jeffries disclosed that since January of this year, the two leaders managed to maintain a “respectful, communicative, and forward-looking” relationship. He acknowledged that they often found themselves in strong disagreement on various political matters, but added, “However, we agreed to disagree without being personally disagreeable in order to find common ground whenever possible.”
The Democratic Leader commended McCarthy for his efforts in establishing a bipartisan Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. Jeffries also highlighted McCarthy’s commitment to addressing the challenges posed by the rise of artificial intelligence and his dedication to laying the groundwork for future legislative engagement. He emphasized, “That effort should continue.”
Jeffries concluded by expressing his well wishes, stating, “I wish Speaker McCarthy, his family and dedicated staff Godspeed as he begins the next chapter in his public service and professional journey.”