Republican Rep. Tim Burchett accuses Kevin McCarthy of elbowing him in the kidneys, McCarthy denies it

Republican Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee accused former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of elbowing him in the kidneys Tuesday morning while Burchett spoke to a reporter, the latest sign of how tense the dynamic is in the House. House Republican conference.

Burchett, who was one of eight Republicans who voted to unseat McCarthy, has been highly critical of the former president and the alleged altercation is indicative of the pressure cooker dynamic in the House GOP right now.

Burchett criticized McCarthy for being a “bully” as he described his altercation with the former House Republican leader, where he says McCarthy elbowed him in the kidneys while speaking to a reporter in the hallway outside the conference meeting. Republican.

“They elbowed me in the back and it caught me off guard because it was a clean shot to the kidneys. And I turned around (and) there was Kevin, and for a minute I wondered what the hell just happened and then I chased after him, of course,” Burchett told CNN’s Manu Raju, adding: “Now he’s the guy.” A guy who when he was a kid would throw a rock over the fence and run home and hide behind his mom’s skirt.”

Burchett said he pursued the former spokesman to confront him about the altercation, but said McCarthy ignored him. He added that he “raised his voice” and that McCarthy responded with “that kind of sharp stuff.”

“Of course, as he always…does, he just denies it or blames someone else or something. And he was a little heated. But I just backed off because I didn’t see any reason. I wasn’t gaining anything from it. Everyone saw it. So it didn’t really matter,” he told CNN.

McCarthy repeatedly denied the incident to CNN, saying, “I didn’t push him or elbow him. “It’s a narrow hallway.”

In a lengthy meeting later Tuesday, McCarthy again denied hitting Burchett.

“If I hit someone, they’ll know,” he said. “If I punched someone in the kidney, they’d be on the ground.”

Tensions are high throughout the Capitol. On the Senate side, Oklahoma Republican Senator Markwayne Mullin challenged a witness before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to a physical fight on Tuesday. President Bernie Sanders quickly put an end to this, admonishing Mullin and reminding him that he is a United States senator and not a participant in a cage fight.

The Vermont independent later told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the exchange was “pretty lame” and took attention away from the Senate hearing, which focused on the unions’ efforts.

When asked about McCarthy’s denials and his claim that the hallway was narrow and that it was an accident, Burchett said it was not a serious explanation.

“There are 435 congressmen, I was one of the eight who voted against. That hallway was… there’s a lot of space, four of you could walk side by side. He chose to do what he did. And you know, he’ll end up right here. “I’m sure he will be just a small asterisk in his historic career,” he said.

The Tennessee Republican continued later Tuesday to reject McCarthy’s claim that the incident was an accident, telling CNN’s Raju: “First [McCarthy] He said that didn’t happen. And then she said, she just brushed against me. And then she said the room was full of people. And then the last thing he said was that if she had hit him, she would have known. So he chooses, it doesn’t matter. I don’t really care because, in my opinion, he has a history of this type of activity. And he demonstrates exactly why he doesn’t need to be a speaker.”

Burchett also told CNN he was still in “a little bit” of pain. “Kinda yeah, I mean, it was just a clean shot to the kidneys and that was it. And it wasn’t a big deal, and I’ve been through worse,” he said, adding that he doesn’t seek medical attention.

“I’m not going to seek medical attention. And I’m not going to look for a lawyer. I’m not going to seek ethical validation. “I couldn’t care less,” she said.

Burchett told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Tuesday night that he and McCarthy have not spoken since the incident, but said he would take a call from the former spokesperson and forgive him.

“Today I said several prayers for him, madam. “There is something really deep inside him right now, and he will continue to do these types of activities, and he will continue to cause shame, to his family and to his district and, frankly, to the Republican caucus,” he said on “The Source.” . ”

The Tennessee Republican previously accused the former president of using his substantial campaign war chest to interfere in member elections and said he believes McCarthy, who has not yet said whether he will remain in the House, will no longer be in the next Congress.

“He’s already interfering in everyone’s careers and we all know it,” Burchett said.

The relationship between the two Republican lawmakers has become strained in recent weeks. McCarthy told CNN that he was surprised by Burchett’s vote to unseat him last month. In the run-up to the vote, Burchett said McCarthy patronized the Tennessee Republican’s statement that he was praying about whether to vote to unseat McCarthy.

Tuesday’s incident comes as tensions are at an all-time high in the House, as members have been in session for 10 consecutive weeks.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, said at his news conference Tuesday that the Thanksgiving recess would allow members to return home and “calm down.”

In a sign that some of McCarthy’s critics want to exacerbate the problem, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is filing a formal ethics complaint against McCarthy over the alleged altercation with Burchett, according to a copy of the document obtained by CNN.

Gaetz – who has been one of McCarthy’s main antagonists and led the campaign to oust him as president – ​​did not witness the interaction, but anyone can file a complaint with the House Ethics Committee. Burchett said he “appreciates” Gaetz backing him, but that “is not the direction he was going.” Gaetz said they have a “duty to investigate” and accused McCarthy of violating the members’ code of conduct.

Gaetz was also among eight Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy as chairman, and McCarthy recently unloaded on the group in an interview with CNN, in which McCarthy singled out Gaetz and noted that Gaetz is under investigation by the Ethics Committee. of the camera. Now, Gaetz is escalating his beef even further with this latest allegation.

This story has been updated with additional news.

CNN’s Haley Talbot, Manu Raju and Sam Fossum contributed to this report.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button