Nancy Mace wears bizarre ‘Scarlet Letter’ A shirt to speaker forum

MAGA Republican, who has endorsed Jim Jordan for the House speaker role, told reporters that she was wearing the ‘scarlet letter’ as a symbol that she had been ‘demonised’ at the Capitol this week

Rachel Sharp
Wednesday 11 October 2023 13:11 BST
Nancy Mace reveals why she's wearing 'Scarlett Letter A' to House

Nancy Mace bizarrely showed up to the House speaker candidate forum on Tuesday sporting a t-shirt with a red letter “A” emblazoned across it.

The MAGA Republican, who has endorsed Jim Jordan for the speaker role, told reporters that she was wearing the “scarlet letter” as a symbol that she had been “demonised” at the Capitol this week.

“I’m wearing the scarlet letter after the week I just had being a woman up here, and being demonised for my vote and for my voice,” she said in the halls of Congress.

“I’m here to let the rest of the world know and the country know: I’m on the side of the people. I’m not on the side of the establishment.

She added: “And I’m going to do the right thing every single time no matter the consequences because I don’t answer to anybody in DC. I don’t answer to anyone in Washington. I only answer to the people.”

The South Carolina lawmaker’s fashion statement appears to be a reference to the 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter.

In the novel, the female lead character Hester Prynne was forced to wear a scarlet A for the rest of her life as a punishment for having a child out of wedlock.

Ms Mace has come under fire from several of her fellow Republicans after she sided with the party’s rebel faction and voted to oust Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House of Representatives last week.

The far-right lawmaker was one of eight Republicans – led by Rep Matt Gaetz – who joined Democrats to vote to remove him from the speakership on 3 October.

Mr McCarthy had grown increasingly at odds with the far-right wing of the party – notably lead rebel and MAGA Republican Mr Gaetz.

Nancy Mace sports ‘Scarlet Letter A’ to House speaker forum
Nancy Mace sports ‘Scarlet Letter A’ to House speaker forum (Acyn/X)

Mr Gaetz had filed a motion to vacate the speaker in outrage that Mr McCarthy struck a deal with Democrats to avert a government shutdown – one that could have temporarily shuttered key services for American people and furloughed federal workers.

After Democrats declined to bail out the speaker and members of his own party turned on him, Mr McCarthy was removed in a 216-210 vote to vacate – marking the first time in American history that a speaker has been ousted by other lawmakers.

Ms Mace has since defended her move to oust Ms McCarthy, claiming that he broke several promises that he made to her when she voted him into the role in January.

Now, she has thrown her support behind Donald Trump ally and founding member of the right-wing Freedom Caucus Jim Jordan.

On Tuesday night, the House GOP held a closed-door candidate forum to hear from Mr Jordan and rival candidate Steve Scalise.

Neither Mr Scalise nor Mr Jordan made any hard promises or concessions to their colleagues during the forum, according to reports – with questions growing as to whether either candidate has enough support to take the gavel.

Mr McCarthy urged his allies not to nominate him for the role again, while also refusing to endorse either of the two candidates.

The first vote to decide who will become the next speaker is expected to take place on Wednesday, with Republicans holding an internal vote to select the party’s nominee at 9am ET.

A full chamber vote is possible as soon as Wednesday however it could still be some time before a speaker takes the gavel.

In January, the House went through a staggering 15 votes before Mr McCarthy finally surpassed the vote threshold.

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