The leader of the House Democrats instructed his caucus to vote to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy after a party meeting on Tuesday morning became a bitter venting session in which Democrats aired their disdain for the top Republican.
Hours before a vote in which Mr. McCarthy would almost certainly need their support to survive, there was little sign that any Democrat — even the most moderate — wanted to save him, according to lawmakers who emerged from the closed-door gathering.
The minority leader, Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York, set the tone for the meeting by playing a video clip of an appearance Mr. McCarthy made on television on Sunday — the morning after Democrats helped him push through legislation to avert a government shutdown — in which he blamed them for trying to prompt a shutdown.
He waited until after many members had spoken to issue his marching orders to the caucus: that they should vote against any procedural motion brought to the House floor that would delay the removal of Mr. McCarthy.
Democrats said they had plenty of reasons to comply.
“I think he’s likely the most unprincipled person to ever be speaker of the House,” said Representative Abigail Spanberger, a centrist from Virginia who is considering a run for governor. “He’s disdainful, he lies about us, he lies about the process of governance. It’s not even a question of whether or not we should take any particular action.”
Democrats, for the most part, view Mr. McCarthy as a lackey for former President Donald J. Trump, and someone who has opened up a groundless impeachment inquiry into President Biden in order to appease the far-right members. They don’t trust him and regard him as someone who has made so many different promises to so many different people that his word is meaningless.
“They need to work this out,” Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut said as she left the Democrats’ meeting. “This is not for us to get involved.”
Because of Republicans’ tiny majority and the size of the right-wing band of rebels pushing to remove Mr. McCarthy, he would most likely need at least some Democrats to support him or refrain from voting to survive.
Representative Mark Takano, a progressive from California, said that not one member in the room rose to make the case for voting “present” on the matter, which would lower the threshold for Mr. McCarthy to win a majority and stay in his post.
Instead, even the most politically vulnerable Democrats from swing districts have spoken out against him.
“If Kevin McCarthy hasn’t bothered to ask me or other Democrats for support, then why would we be putting much time into talking about this?” Representative Jared Golden of Maine, the co-chairman of the conservative Blue Dogs Caucus, said on Monday.
Representative Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington, who also faces a tough re-election fight in a conservative district that Mr. Trump carried in two consecutive presidential elections, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that “so far Kevin McCarthy is a lot more interested in appeasing guys like Joe Kent than talking with independent voices like me,” referring to the Republican she beat last year. Mr. Kent denied the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election and supported defendants charged in connection with the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. She posted a picture of Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Kent posing together and smiling.