Eric Cantor Announces Exit; Asks Republicans to Put Aside Differences
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced Wednesday that he would resign his position, admitting he had suffered a “personal setback” after losing his primary election in Virginia to challenger David Brat.
Citing the Old Testament, Cantor told reporters that “each setback is an opportunity” and said that he would continue fighting for conservative causes.
Cantor defended his time as Majority Leader, praising the multitude of bills he and his colleagues passed to help Americans.
“You know people often lament about what’s wrong with this town, but I want to remind you what’s right,” he said, praising his “distinguished colleagues” as well as their congressional staffers.
On the issue of who would best replace him as Majority Leader, Cantor endorsed Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for the position. "I think he'd make an outstanding majority leader," Cantor said. "And I will be backing him with my full support."
Cantor refused to discuss the political implications of his race on the immigration debate or the future of the Republican party, saying he would leave that up to reporters and pundits.
He also reminded reporters that the Tea Party acronym was “Taxed Enough Already,” a principle that all Republicans shared.
Cantor also explained that it was time for Republicans to unite for victory in 2014—admitting that he would not run for office in November.
He said that the differences between Republicans “pales in comparison” to Democrats and the left.
“I hope that all Republicans will put minor differences aside and help elect a Republican House and Senate so that we may all benefit from a proper check and balance that leaves our nation more secure, more prosperous and freer,” he said.
According to sources after the meeting, Cantor received three standing ovations during the meeting while Speaker John Boehner choked back tears when he addressed Cantor’s departure.
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts,” Boehner told Cantor, quoting Winston Churchill during his speech.
Although there was a lot of drama inside the meeting, House Republicans were quick to schedule a date to replace him. The vote will be held on June 19 while Cantor will step down on July 31.