Kevin McCarthy remains so seethingly angry at the eight Republicans who voted to oust him from the speakership that he apparently couldn’t resist getting physical with one of them on Tuesday morning.
National Public Radio reporter Claudia Grisales was in the Capitol interviewing Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), one of the anti-McCarthy eight, when McCarthy walked by with his security detail and “shoved” Burchett, sending him lunging forward, Grisales wrote on a thread on X.
According to Grisales, Burchett chased after McCarthy and his detail. “Hey Kevin, why’d you walk behind me and elbow me in the back?” Burchett shouted down a hallway at McCarthy.
Apparently, McCarthy denied shoving him, to which Burchett responded, “You’re pathetic man, you are so pathetic.”
Burchett later claimed to CNN that McCarthy had elbowed him in the back with a “clean shot to the kidneys.”
“He’s a bully with $17 million and a security detail,” Burchett fumed. “He’s the type of guy that when you’re a kid would throw a rock over the fence and run home and hide behind his momma’s skirt.”
He added, “I just don’t expect a guy who was, at one time, three steps away from the White house to hit you with a sucker punch in the hallway.”
In October, Burchett voted to remove McCarthy as speaker after the two had a conversation in which Burchett felt the GOP leader belittled his religious faith. Burchett had said he would “pray on” his voting decision. And McCarthy, according to Burchett, then said something “condescending.”
Burchett said that sealed his vote; he decided to support ousting McCarthy.
After the vote, McCarthy denied the allegation, saying Burchett somehow misconstrued what he was trying to say. But the damage was done.
In recent weeks, McCarthy has continued to fume over the revolt that toppled him, telling CNN that the instigators—chiefly Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)—should face retribution. He also expressed surprise that Burchett voted against him, arguing that he did so only to gain attention.
After the confrontation on Tuesday, Burchett told Grisales it was his first interaction with the former speaker since his vote on Oct. 3.
“He’s just a jerk,” Burchett said of McCarthy. “He’s on a downhill spiral.”
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