Republicans have been plunged into turmoil after hard-line members repeatedly blocked their own leader from becoming the new speaker of the House of Representatives.
But the usually straightforward process went awry Tuesday when a caucus of right-wing Republicans put forward their candidate, Jim Jordan.
The group’s support for Mr Jordan – who insisted he does not want the job – means Mr McCarthy may not get enough votes from his own party to win the vote.
This is the first time in 100 years that a nominee for Speaker of the House has not been decided on the first ballot.
The group behind the coup – the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus – is usually a vocal supporter of the former president. Donald Trumpwho have previously endorsed Mr McCarthy for House Speaker.
However, figures including Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida have spoken out publicly against Mr Trump’s selection.
After three rounds of inconclusive voting, the House of Representatives adjourned without electing a new speaker, preventing the House from conducting regular business until a new presiding officer was elected.
Without a Speaker, the House cannot fully constitute and swear in its members, name its committee chairmen and engage in floor proceedings.
The House will reconvene on Wednesday, with Mr McCarthy insisting he will not withdraw.
“It’s not going to happen,” he said when asked if he would back down.
However, the rebels also showed no signs of resigning, with Republican holdout Bob Good saying: “Kevin McCarthy will not be speaker.”
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