Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and ex-Majority Leader Steny Hoyer walk from the House floor where members debate the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to the speaker’s office in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 19, 2019.
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Spokespeople for McCarthy, a California Republican, and the new temporary speaker, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., did not immediately respond when asked what spurred the evictions.
Pelosi, who retains her district seat from California, noted that the eviction notice came as she was traveling to San Francisco for the funeral of her longtime friend, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died Friday.
The harsh break with tradition came after every Democrat in attendance in the House sided with eight breakaway Republicans on Tuesday to oust McCarthy.
“One of the first actions taken by the new Speaker Pro Tempore was to order me to immediately vacate my office in the Capitol,” Pelosi said in a statement Tuesday night.
“Sadly, because I am in California to mourn the loss of and pay tribute to my dear friend Dianne Feinstein, I am unable to retrieve my belongings at this time.”
Pelosi noted that after she was first elected speaker, she gave her predecessor, former Republican Rep. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, a large suite of offices in the Capitol to use as long as he wanted.
“Office space doesn’t matter to me, but it seems to be important to them,” she said Tuesday.
The hideaway offices in the Capitol, which are considered perks, are doled out by the party in power to leaders on both sides of the aisle.
Despite losing their hideaway Capitol spaces, Pelosi and Hoyer will both retain their big congressional offices in the Longworth House Office Building.
Republican lawmakers are furious with Democrats for siding with the hardline conservatives and their leader, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., in his motion to remove McCarthy as speaker.
A longtime McCarthy antagonist, Gaetz is considered by many rank-and-file Republicans to be more interested in grabbing public attention than in legislating.
After he was ousted, McCarthy on Tuesday evening said that when he was elected speaker in January, Pelosi had promised him she would “always back you up” if a member of the GOP caucus introduced a motion to vacate.
But when the ax finally fell, Pelosi was not in Washington to help McCarthy out.
“Today was a political decision by the Democrats,” McCarthy told reporters at the Capitol.