Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California reflected on his career in the House of Representatives on Thursday as he cast his final vote before retiring from Congress just before his fellow lawmakers took a three-week break for Christmas.
The former speaker looked back on his historic ouster as well as the rest of his career as he made right on his pledge to quit before his term expires in January 2025.
McCarthy, 58, addressed a mostly empty chamber when he said he had no regrets.
“To America: I loved every single day,” McCarthy said of his 17-year tenure in Washington.
Despite his disagreements with Democrats throughout the year, McCarthy thanked members of the party for their “work” on behalf of the country.
He then offered the handful of his colleagues in attendance advice on their careers.
“Do not be fearful if you believe your philosophy brings people more freedom … that you could lose your job over it … Do it anyways. I would do it all again.”
— Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) gives a farewell speech ahead of his resignation at the end of the year pic.twitter.com/M34FNgPWXD
— The Recount (@therecount) December 14, 2023
“One thing I think we must quite understand, and if there’s advice I can give, do not be fearful if you believe your philosophy brings people more freedom,” McCarthy said. “Do not be fearful that you could lose your job over it.”
McCarthy, who held the speaker’s gavel for only nine months, then addressed the September deal he made with Democrats to fund the government, a stance that led to his removal.
“I knew the day we decided to make sure to choose to pay our troops while war was breaking out, instead of shutting down, was the right decision. I also knew a few would make a motion. Somehow they disagreed with that decision,” he said.
McCarthy said the decisions he made as the leader of the House – which culminated in him being the first speaker ever ousted from the position – were the right thing to do. He said he would not have changed anything given the benefit of hindsight.
“I would do it all again,” McCarthy said.
According to The Hill, he concluded his full remarks by telling other representatives to vote by conscience and not with ambition in mind.
“We should never allow this body to stop for doing what is right,” McCarthy concluded. “So if you come across that question of whether you should do what’s right out of fear of losing your job, do it anyways ’cause it’s the right thing to do and this is what the nation requires. I think putting people before politics is always the right answer.”
McCarthy was embraced by two of his closest GOP allies – Reps. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina and French Hill of Arkansas – after he finished his remarks.
McHenry says he will not run for re-election when his term expires in January 2025.
McCarthy announced he would vacate his seat last week in an op-ed he wrote for The Wall Street Journal.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.