The dismissal of Kevin McCarthy by the Trumpist wing of his own party has exposed the fissures among American conservatives, one year before the 2024 presidential elections.
Until now, in its more than 200 years of history, the president of the House of Representatives had never been removed from office.
But history has taken a new turn less than three years after the attack on the Capitol by supporters of former Republican President Donald Trump.
– “Great instability” –
"Yesterday demonstrated once again the level of chaos in the Republican Party and the level of chaos that the Republican Party is willing to impose on the country," said Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public policy at Princeton University.
When conservatives took control of the House of Representatives in January, they promised to focus their energy against Democratic President Joe Biden, whom they accuse of being "corrupt" and "lying to the American people."
“Due to the chaos that reigns in the House today, it is more difficult to talk about the failure that Biden's presidency represents,” lamented influential Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Tuesday afternoon.
The problems pile up with an explosive McCarthy succession. For now, two congressmen from the radical right have presented themselves: Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan.
"This plunges the institution into very great instability," just when Congress must vote on a new budget and decide whether to approve a new disbursement for Ukraine, Zelizer explains to AFP.
In the absence of a president, Congress has interrupted its work at a time when the country urgently needs a budget to avoid budget paralysis. You have about 40 days to avoid a government shutdown.
– Trump in court –
Meanwhile, Trump, under four indictments, continues to dominate by a wide margin the race for the Republican nomination for the 2024 elections.
When Congress descended into chaos, he was in New York to testify in court, accused of fraud over the value of his real estate assets.
The septuagenarian once again used it as a political platform, aware that each legal movement translates into millions of dollars for his campaign. They come from Trumpists convinced that he is the victim of a political plot.
– Appointment in November 2024 –
The Republican added fuel to the fire on Wednesday morning by repeating that he is the victim of a "witch hunt" orchestrated by his successor Joe Biden, whom he could face again in the presidential election.
It is unclear whether the upheavals in the Republican Party will have an impact on these November 2024 elections.
The chaos "could affect the undecided", who probably hold the key to the next elections, predicts Professor Zelizer.
Rob Mellen, a professor at the University of South Florida, disagrees.
"Americans have short memories," says Mellen. "We are 13 months away from the elections and the current situation still has many surprises in store for us between now and then," he says.
That is, the important thing is not the fall, but the landing.