2023 House Speaker Election | Know Your Meme
Meme Encyclopedia
Know Your Meme is the property of Literally Media ©2024 Literally Media. All Rights Reserved.

2023 House Speaker Election

Added • Updated 5 months ago

Added by Adam • Updated 5 months ago by Adam
Added by Adam • Updated 5 months ago by Adam

sad kevin mccarthy
Category: Event Status: Submission Year: 2023 Origin: Washington, D.C. Region: United States
Type: Election,
Tags: kevin mccarthy, matt gaetz, leeroy jenkins, jim jordan, hakeem jeffries, republicans, speaker of the house, lauren boebert, 2023 house speaker election memes, kevin mccarthy memes, meme,
sad kevin mccarthy


2023 House Speaker Election refers to the contentious election of a new Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress in early January 2023. Per government rules, a Speaker of the House must be elected with a majority of votes from congresspeople, and in 2023, the number of votes needed is 218. Republicans have 222 seats in the House of Representatives, and the vast majority want Representative Kevin McCarthy to be Speaker of the House. However, a caucus of hard-right conservative congresspeople refused to vote for McCarthy, causing the election to repeat multiple times for the first time in over a century. On January 7th, Kevin McCarthy finally secured victory in the 15th election. Coverage of the election spawned memes and discussions on social media.


On January 3rd, 2023, the United States House of Representatives convened to elect a new Speaker of the House following the retirement of Nancy Pelosi. Republicans were able to regain control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections, gaining a slim 222-212 majority over the Democrats. Heading into the proceedings, Representative Kevin McCarthy was reportedly the clear favorite to take the job.[1]

However, on the first ballot, 19 hard-right Republicans, including Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert and Paul Gosar, refused to vote for McCarthy, and the first ballot saw Democrat Hakeem Jeffries winning 212 votes, McCarthy 203, and 19 votes placed elsewhere, meaning the election would have to be held again. It marked the first time in over a century that the Speaker of the House wasn't elected on the first ballot.


After the first election failed to elect a Speaker on January 3rd, 2023, Representative Jim Jordan gave a stump speech asking the hard-right caucus to vote for McCarthy. Matt Gaetz then nominated Jordan for House Speaker, and the 19 anti-McCarthy voters all voted for Jordan.[2] This process repeated four more times over two days as two more Republicans joined the anti-McCarthy caucus, which coalesced around Florida representative Byron Donalds.

Ritchie Torres @Ritchie Torres Hakeem Jeffries - 212 Kevin McCarthy - 203 Jim Jordan - 19 Jim Jordan's nominating speech for Kevin McCarthy yielded new votes for Jim Jordan rather than Kevin McCarthy. 3:22 PM Jan 3, 2023

According to NPR,[1] the anti-McCarthy Republicans are demanding that the Speaker have less power and have been critical of McCarthy's opposition to the Biden administration, particularly his willingness to pass large spending bills.

"Leeroy Jenkins" Reference

On the second day of proceedings, during the fourth ballot, Democratic Representative Jared Huffman announced his vote by shouting "Hakeeeeeeem Jeffries!" in the cadence of the Leeroy Jenkins meme (seen below).

Rep. Rogers Confronting Matt Gaetz

Rep. Rogers Confronting Matt Gaetz refers to a moment when U.S. Congress representative Mike Rogers had to be physically restrained by the face from confronting Matt Gaetz during the 14th round of voting in the 2023 House Speaker Election. Gaetz was one of the congresspeople withholding his vote from Kevin McCarthy during the proceedings, apparently causing Rogers to grow angry with him to the point of rage. The moment was called a symbol of Republican dysfunction by many commentators as well as the subject of photoshops.

keegan @FranziaMom LIQUID SWORDS 11:52 PM Jan 6, 2023 . ... Andrew Harnik/AF OAP TAP Photo/Andrew Hardik) SOUTHERN CHIVALRY HOUSE REP AROUNENT CLUB'S. AS- debating trick. ruses an old

McCarthy Elected

On January 7th, in the fifteenth election, McCarthy finally rangled enough votes to become House Speaker, winning by one vote.[7]

Ousting of Kevin McCarthy and Second Speaker Vote

Ousting Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker refers to the push to remove Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives led by hard-right conservatives in Congress (particularly Matt Gaetz), which was also supported by House Democrats. On October 3rd, 2023, the House ultimately voted to remove McCarthy as House Speaker. Following his removal from the position, discourse and memes erupted on social media, largely mocking the former House Speaker.

This kicked off a Second House Speaker Election. As of October 18th, representatives Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan have been seen as the leading candidates to win the job, but neither could get enough support to win the position, with Jordan losing two votes on the House floor.

Online Reactions

The repeated elections drew schadenfreude both from left-leaning and hard-right Twitter users in early January 2023, as many seemingly enjoyed watching Kevin McCarthy repeatedly fail to win the Speaker role. Late-night hosts including Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel[3] reveled in the irony that McCarthy had seemed to cozy up to Donald Trump in order to win favor with his party (Trump also endorsed him for Speaker[4]), only to have his election to Speaker thwarted by congress's most ardent Trump supporters (Colbert monologue shown below).

On social media, multiple users viewed McCarthy's repeated failures as a personal hell for the Congressman. At one point in the January 4th proceedings, Republicans didn't even have the votes to adjourn so that McCarthy could negotiate with his opposition, leading to even more failed ballots. This caused Twitter user @whstancil[5] to quip that "Hell is real, for this one man specifically" (shown below, left). User @Samfr[6] similarly quipped that McCarthy's "Kafka-esque nightmare" was "joyous" and "deserved," gaining over 400 retweets and 2,200 likes in one day (shown below, right).

Will Stancil @whstancil 20h -The House literally doesn't have the votes to adjourn -As long as it doesn't adjourn, the House is required to take endless speaker votes -No one can win those votes -So Kevin McCarthy is stuck in endless repeating, inescapable loop of failing to become Speaker over and over ₁868.3K t 1,929 Will Stancil @whstancil 20h It's... it's so beautiful ₁77.2K 252 Will Stancil @whstancil 9 1 47 16.4K 2,983 Hell is real, for this one man specifically 3:11 PM Jan 4, 2023 ←] 소 : : ... ... Sam Freedman @Samfr Watching Kevin McCarthy be trapped in this endless Kafka-esque nightmare is truly joyous and so deeply deserved. Matt McDermott @mattmfm 21h Kevin McCarthy will lose the fifth floor vote. The problem now is that he also doesn't have the votes to call a recess. So what happens now? He can't win the vote, but he also now can't stop the vote. 2:08 PM Jan 4, 2023 ...

Susan Cole

During the proceedings, a fandom began to develop around House Reading Clerk Susan Cole, whose job is to make announcements to the House and call names for votes in Congress. As the votes for several rounds of elections were tallied, Cole had a significant amount of screentime on C-Span's coverage. This led to appreciation from social media users who enjoyed her demeanor during the proceedings, similar to how Steve Kornacki developed a fandom (examples shown below).

Michael Beatrice @Michael Beatrice Really enjoying this clerk, Susan Cole, recording the vote. Totally no nonsense. Can we make her Speaker? #Speakerofthehouse CAPITOL HILL 2:06 PM > BREAKING NEWS 2:09 PM Jan 4, 2023 113 ASUS GenXGuy @ItsTedChambers Veteran classroom teacher of 26 years here. Shout out to House Reading Clerk Susan Cole (pictured below). Teachers everywhere see your pencil - and we feel your pain. #Solidarity @rweingarten @BeckyPringle #teachertwitter #teacher 10:45 PM Jan 5, 2023

On February 5th, 2023, Cole was a major part of the Bad Lip Reading parody of the election, as the parody saw her give several humorous names to congresspeople (shown below).

On October 16th, 2023, before the second Speaker vote, Twitter user @ReedReports[8] posted that he'd had an interview with Cole, who he described as surprised by her viral fame, gaining over 600 retweets and 5,100 likes (shown below).

Nathaniel Reed @ReedReports Just chatted w/ Susan Cole, the House Reading Clerk who has become a viral sensation amid speakership chaos. She is aware of her celebrity through her daughters, though told me she doesn't "do social media" But she's a bit bewildered by her fame. "I'm just Susan!" she told me

Search Interest

External References

Tags: kevin mccarthy, matt gaetz, leeroy jenkins, jim jordan, hakeem jeffries, republicans, speaker of the house, lauren boebert, 2023 house speaker election memes, kevin mccarthy memes, meme,

Comments ( 136 )

Sorry, but you must activate your account to post a comment.