Representative Steve Scalise, who was nominated by House Republicans to be their speaker candidate has dropped out of the race.
Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana on Thursday withdrew from consideration for the speakership he was on the cusp of claiming after hard-line Republicans balked at rallying around their party’s chosen candidate, leaving the House leaderless and the G.O.P. in chaos.
After being narrowly nominated for speaker during a Tuesday closed-door secret-ballot contest among House Republicans, Mr. Scalise, their No. 2 leader, found himself far from the 217 votes needed to be elected on the House floor. Many supporters of his challenger, Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the right-wing Republican endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump, refused to switch their allegiance.
With no clear end in sight to the G.O.P. infighting that has left one chamber of Congress paralyzed at a time of challenges at home and abroad, Mr. Scalise said he would step aside in hopes that someone else could unite the fractious party.
His abrupt exit left Republicans back at Square 1, as fractured as ever over who should lead them and trading recriminations about the disarray in which they found themselves.
Former President Trump weighed in against Scalise on Thursday saying, “Steve is a man that is in serious trouble, from the standpoint of his cancer… I just don’t know how you can do the job when you have such a serious problem.”
Top Republicans refrained from supporting Scalise openly.
It remains to be seen if former Speaker Kevin McCarthy mounts a big to regain the speakership.