Outside of Chip Roy, Matt Gaetz, and the other conservative holdouts who held up Kevin McCarthy’s coronation as Speaker of the House, there was one man who probably caused more headache for McCarthy than anyone else – Representative Mike Rogers of Alabama.
Rogers, who very publicly had to be restrained from going after Gaetz on the House floor Friday night, has confirmed plans to step down from the top Republican panel that determines which Republicans get committee assignments, though he told POLITICO on Monday that those plans aren’t necessarily final. Rogers was one of the top McCarthy allies who stood against the conservative group of Representatives and may have exacerbated the problem in the process.
The Alabama representative got very heated with conservatives on multiple occasions, though two of those occasions were high-profile enough to be recognized as entirely unhelpful to the situation. The first was his promise that anyone who voted against McCarthy would not get a committee assignment, which was enough to enrage Roy.
In the same GOP conference meeting, Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama reportedly suggested that McCarthy opponents should lose their committee assignments—something that was crucial to the negotiations McCarthy and his detractors had prior. Upon hearing Rogers’s threat, Rep. Chip Roy of Texas stood and asked McCarthy to deny that could be the case. A question McCarthy refused to answer. “You just sealed your fate,” Roy said, before storming out.
On Friday night, after Matt Gaetz held up McCarthy’s victory a final time, Rogers made a very aggressive, physical move to say something to Gaetz, but had to be physically restrained in one of the oddest moments of the night.
Wild scene as Rep. Mike Rogers has to be physically restrained by another member while going after Gaetz as McCarthy tries to secure final votes pic.twitter.com/c0u2lZxgYr
— Cabot Phillips (@cabot_phillips) January 7, 2023
Rogers does claim that he’s not being pushed out by his fellow Republicans, but it’s clear that this is either self-imposed punishment or retribution for his actions last week, which did irreparable harm to McCarthy’s bid for and tenure as Speaker.
POLITICO did confirm the details of Rogers’ upcoming departure from the steering committee.
Rep. Mike Rogers is preparing to step down from a powerful House Republican panel that decides committee assignments for conference members after a series of confrontations with conservatives who prolonged Kevin McCarthy’s speakership fight.
Rogers (R-Ala.) confirmed the plan Monday morning, saying it would likely happen later this week — while underscoring that his departure from the GOP steering committee isn’t finalized and that he is not being encouraged by his colleagues to exit. Should Rogers do so as planned, his region’s members would meet to elect a new representative.
Without a doubt, Rogers made last week more difficult for McCarthy. Maybe this isn’t punishment or self-imposed exile, but that one moment on the House floor will follow him for the rest of his time in politics, and you never really know if that is going to hurt you in future election cycles. To both men’s credit, they have publicly stated they hope to continue working together and acknowledged the work they’ve done together in the past.
But, beneath that cordiality is the possibility that both men are destined to butt heads again.