Here’s what you need to know…
Allegations have surfaced against Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, accusing him of physically confronting a fellow Republican congressman who played a role in McCarthy’s removal as House speaker. Rep. Tim Burchett, a Republican from Tennessee, claimed in an on-camera interview on the Capitol Hill steps that McCarthy took a “cheap shot from behind.” Burchett expressed surprise at such behavior from an adult, particularly someone who had previously held the position of the third in line for the White House.
According to Fox, describing McCarthy’s actions as deliberate, Burchett stated his willingness to undergo a polygraph test and challenged McCarthy to do the same. He characterized the incident as a “cheap shot by a bully.” Despite the encounter, Burchett stated that he did not plan to pursue further action, including filing a House ethics complaint, as McCarthy would likely leave after Christmas and, in Burchett’s opinion, capitalize on his financial resources.
When questioned about the incident’s implications for the state of Congress, Burchett noted historical examples of duels and fistfights but emphasized that such behavior was not acceptable today. The alleged physical altercation occurred during an interview with NPR correspondent Claudia Grisales, who detailed the incident on X. Fox News reached out to McCarthy’s office for comment.
Burchett recounted the incident, stating that McCarthy walked by and intentionally elbowed him in the kidneys while passing in a hallway with ample space. Burchett, one of the eight members who voted against McCarthy, asserted that the act was purposeful and emphasized the slim odds of the incident occurring randomly among 435 members of Congress. He also mentioned pursuing McCarthy after the incident.
Downplaying the impact on himself, Burchett remarked that the incident reflected differences in how conflicts are handled in Tennessee compared to California. Despite expressing empathy and prayers for McCarthy’s happiness, Burchett accused him of having $17 million at his disposal and interfering in various political races.
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) recounts Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “elbowing him in the back”:
“It kind of caught me off guard, because it was a clean shot to the kidneys, and I turned back and there was Kevin and … I just ran after him. I was like, ‘What the heck?’” pic.twitter.com/c0DhelsWOc
— The Recount (@therecount) November 14, 2023