Cantor Gets Bipartisan Sendoff After His Unceremonious Defeat

Eric Cantor delivers his farewell speech as House majority leader and receives a bipartisan ovation from his colleagues.

This article is from the archive of our partner .

The House is never so bipartisan as when it is showing one of its long-serving members the door.

Lawmakers took a brief break from bickering to salute Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on his final day as majority leader. Cantor announced his resignation from the leadership following his stunning primary defeat to Dave Brat on June 10. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) takes over as majority leader at midnight.

In a farewell speech on the House floor, Cantor thanked his colleagues and his staff, and said that as the grandson of immigrants who fled religious persecution in Europe, he had "truly lived the American dream."

And in the faintest of nods to his own electoral fate, he urged members never to "take for granted the awesome honor and responsibility we have to serve our fellow Americans."

Cantor's occasionally tense relationship with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is well-known, but he offered warm words for the Speaker and even teased him for his famous penchant for crying in public.

Thank you for the example of firm leadership that you show, and at the same time, for not being afraid to show us your kind heart and your soft spot from time to time."

Cantor also noted that he and Boehner had spoken to each other every day the House has been in session for the last five years. "For that, Mr. Speaker, I thank you for your patience," he said to laughs.

Cantor will serve out the remaining five months of his term as a rank-and-file member, giving up his office suite, most of his staff and his security detail.

Republicans and Democrats gave Cantor a lengthy standing ovation following his remarks, and his Democratic counterpart (and frequent sparring partner), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), stood up to thank Cantor for his service.

I want to congratulate him. I want to thank him for his service. I want to thank him for working with me on those areas where we could find agreement."

Cantor and Hoyer embraced and another standing ovation ensued.

Then Republicans and Democrats promptly returned to their partisan corners and voted largely along party lines to gut environmental regulations on pesticides.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.