A room of House Republicans audibly “gasped” during a Tuesday confrontation over gay marriage between Reps. Rick Allen (R-GA) and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, who had earlier won the House GOP’s nomination for Speaker.
A source familiar with the showdown confirmed the timeline of events to The Daily Beast, which was first reported by Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman.
During the closed GOP conference meeting on Tuesday, Allen confronted Emmer as he was answering questions from members, according to this source. Citing Emmer's position on gay marriage, Allen told him, “you don't need to get right with me, you need to get right with Jesus,” which sent gasps through the room.
In 2022, Emmer voted with some Republicans and all Democrats for legislation to codify federal protections for same-sex couples. Allen told told CNN earlier Tuesday he was “very concerned” about Emmer's vote and said there was no way he would ever vote for him.
Rep. Rick Allen says he is “very concerned” by Rep. Tom Emmer’s vote supporting same-sex marriage and will refuse to support him because of it. pic.twitter.com/jZnZgiPzYZ
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) October 24, 2023
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) echoed the comments on Fox News, claiming America “needs a Speaker of the House that reflects the values and the views of Republican voters in the country.” She highlighted Emmer’s support for LGBTQ+ rights and said she was “glad Tom has dropped out of the race.”
Ultimately, Emmer's bid for the House's top job was undone by criticisms like Allen's—and former President Donald Trump's social media posts attacking him.
House Republicans are now scrambling to figure out a way forward three weeks since ousting Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the speakership.
Late Tuesday night the conference voted for a new Speaker designee—relatively little-known Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA)—who is seemingly closing in on the Speaker's gavel despite not having locked up the 217 votes needed to win.
A full floor vote on Johnson’s bid is likely to happen as soon as Wednesday.