Feb 13, 2024 - Politics & Policy

McCarthy floats future run for office in rare Capitol Hill visit

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, wearing a blue suit and white shirt, speaking at a lectern in front of statues.

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) cracked the door open for another run for public office during a surprise visit to the Capitol on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The former House speaker remains a major presence in the Republican Party despite his unceremonious ouster last fall.

Driving the news: During a rare visit to the Capitol for an event honoring former House clerk Cheryl Johnson, McCarthy said he "always believed in serving" when asked about another run for office.

  • "Everybody has a responsibility [to run] if there's an opportunity that you may be the best person to serve," he added.
  • Still, McCarthy said, he's "not going to run for Congress again" and "it's not in my near future."
  • McCarthy dismissed a run for California governor in 2026 or president in 2028.

The backdrop: McCarthy resigned from Congress in December following his removal as speaker several months earlier.

  • In an interview with Axios in December, he teased a possible career in tech while also outlining plans to give speeches and write a memoir.
  • He also made an appearance at former President Trump's election night party in Nevada and has reportedly been working behind the scenes to take down some of the eight Republicans who voted to oust him.

Zoom in: McCarthy also offered advice for his successor as speaker, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), saying he shouldn't "be afraid to make a decision."

  • "I would do the exact same thing I did before. You can't be afraid of someone trying to throw you out," McCarthy said.
  • He also vented frustration about what he dubbed the "Crazy Eights Led By Gaetz," a reference to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who introduced the motion to remove him as speaker.
  • "I hope Nancy gets the help she needs, I really do," McCarthy said of Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.). "She's got a lot of challenges."

Go deeper: House ousts Kevin McCarthy as speaker in historic vote

Go deeper