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Chaos and Frustration Rule as Republicans’ Bitter Speaker Fight Deepens

Leaving the House floor shortly after delivering the opening prayer on Friday morning, the House chaplain, Margaret G. Kibben, turned to the sergeant-at-arms flanking the entrance and whispered, “Godspeed.”

It was a barely audible plea that could not hold back yet another day of chaos and uncertainty, of sniping and of death threats, as House Republicans splinter in ways it increasingly seems that nothing short of divine intervention can repair.

By the end of the day, Republicans had toppled their latest candidate for speaker of the House, Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, and in his place a free-for-all had sprouted up, with about a dozen members exploring a bid. And with Republicans having no plans to meet again until Monday, the House is guaranteed to go speakerless for at least 20 days, paralyzed as wars rage overseas and a U.S. government shutdown nears.