Transition Authorization Act Signing (NHQ201703210005)
Transition Authorization Act Signing (NHQ201703210005) by NASA HQ PHOTO is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Republican Kevin McCarthy rode the tiger of far-right US politics led by Donald Trump to achieve his dream of becoming House speaker early this year. Then on Tuesday, the tiger turned and ate him.

The 55th speaker of the House of Representatives was booted out in a shock vote brought by rebels in his own party who have seethed in the nine months since McCarthy narrowly quelled their attempts to block him and managed to claim the most powerful job in Congress.

No other speaker — a position second in line from the presidency in the federal hierarchy — has been ousted in US history.

It was an undignified end — for now, at least — to an unstable, unauthoritative tenure by a lawmaker who made his mark as a so-called conservative "Young Gun," only to get battered by his party's shifting political currents.

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