There could have been fireworks at the House GOP meeting this morning, the first since Kevin McCarthy unexpectedly dropped his bid for speaker. Instead, members said little was changed, and little resolved.
“No announcements, nobody quit, nobody’s announced new candidates,” Nevada representative Mark Amodei tells National Review as he leaves.
Paul Ryan, the seemingly reluctant favorite to take the reins of the conference, sat in the room until the bitter end of the meeting, listening to the speeches, according to another member in attendance. Ryan himself did not speak, and members said he did not give any indication one way or the other as to whether he was reconsidering his decision not to seek the speakership.
On his way into the meeting, Ryan repeatedly told reporters, “I’ve got nothing new to say.”
Members took to the microphones during the meeting to talk about how to move forward, and Cole said there was actually a large amount of praise for Boehner and McCarthy.
One member tells National Review the atmosphere in the room was “pleasant,” and representative Tom Cole told reporters: “people were actually kinder and gentler to one another this morning than maybe they’ve been for the past few weeks.”
“The amount of applause that the speaker and Kevin got when they got up was really pretty stunning,” Cole said.
He said several members went to the microphones and called their decisions to bow out “selfless.”
Renee Ellmers gave a short, “choked up,” and “emotional” speech at the microphone that was “well received,” one member in the room says. She apologized to colleagues for the “Steve Baer e-mails we have been receiving,” says another House Republican in the room, referring to e-mails from a GOP donor that a number of members have reportedly received alleging impropriety on the part of Ellmers and McCarthy.
Speaker John Boehner assured members he would stay until a successor had been chosen. He said he still hoped that could happen by the end of the month, when he had planned to resign, but said he would stay as long as necessary.
No formal timeline was set for when the scuttled speaker election would be rescheduled. Next week Congress is in recess and members are scheduled to be home in their districts.
It was not clear when Boehner would lay out a more concrete timeline.
“I think he’s gonna let a little healing set in,” said Cole.