Kevin McCarthy has been axed as speaker of the US House of Representatives in a brutal rebellion by the far-right of the Republican party furious at his cooperation with Democrats.
The unprecedented manoeuvre laid bare the chaotic levels of squabbling in Republican ranks as they prepare for a 2024 presidential election effort led by Donald Trump.
The first ouster of a speaker in the House's 234-year history was supported by only a handful of right-wing Republican hardliners.
However, the House is almost evenly divided and with Democrats joining the rebel Republicans, rather than riding to Mr McCarthy's rescue, he had no way to survive.
Speaking after the vote, Mr McCarthy told reporters he would not make another run for Speaker.
"I fought for what I believe in," he said. "I believe I can continue to fight, but maybe in a different manner."
The 58-year-old Californian former entrepreneur had sparked fury among conservatives at the weekend when he passed a bipartisan stopgap funding measure backed by the White House to avert a government shutdown.
Florida conservative Matt Gaetz, who forced the removal vote, gambled that he could oust Mr McCarthy with just a few Republicans, helped by Democrats loath to help a speaker who only recently opened a highly politicised impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
Republicans were warned by leadership about plunging the party "into chaos" but Mr Gaetz, who has repeatedly complained about Mr McCarthy failing to honour agreements made with the far right, retorted: "Chaos is Speaker McCarthy."
"Chaos is somebody who we cannot trust with their word," he added.
Democrats, too, had no love for Mr McCarthy, pointing to his decision to renege on a deal with Mr Biden on spending limits hammered out earlier this year in high-stakes talks over the federal budget.
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The pro-business New Democrat Coalition, a large group of Democratic politicians, described Mr McCarthy as "simply not trustworthy".
Congressional Progressive Caucus chairwoman Pramila Jayapal, a leading leftist, vowed to let Republicans "wallow in their pigsty of incompetence" rather than rescue Mr McCarthy.
The tussle came two days after the House and Senate passed a measure to avert a costly government shutdown - both with big bipartisan majorities - by extending federal funding through mid-November.
Conservatives were furious, seeing their chances dashed for forcing massive budget cuts.
They accused Mr McCarthy of a flip-flop, saying he had promised an end to hastily prepared stopgap legislation, hammered out with the support of the opposition, and a return to budgeting through the committee process.
The writing was on the wall after Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries encouraged his members to oust Mr McCarthy.
Every Democrat then joined the 11 rebel Republicans to reject a preliminary motion that would have prevented the final vote from taking place.
With Mr McCarthy out, the House rules provide for a temporary speaker to put the House into recess until a permanent replacement is elected.
Republicans will gather to put up a candidate for a vote to be the new speaker - and it is not out of the question that Mr McCarthy could be nominated for a return to the role he just lost.
It took 15 rounds of balloting for the Californian to win the gavel in January, but the fight demonstrated that he has the support of most of the party, and he could try to persuade the rank-and-file to rally behind him once more.
Alternatively, he may bow out. This would set up a showdown among his lieutenants - most likely House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer.
But Republican hopefuls may shy from taking on what looks like a poisoned chalice in which the hard-right faction will continue to exercise control from the sidelines.
Mr Trump berated Republicans on his social media platform for "always fighting among themselves". Tellingly, though, he offered no support for Mr McCarthy.