On Capitol Hill, an unexpected confrontation between two Republican congressmen has caused a stir. Rep. Tim Burchett from Tennessee has accused Leader Kevin McCarthy, former House Speaker and now House Minority Leader, of physically assaulting him. The incident, which was caught on camera, occurred as Burchett was giving an interview to NPR correspondent Claudia Grisales.
According to Burchett, McCarthy took a "cheap shot" from behind, deliberately elbowing him in the kidneys. In an on-camera interview after the incident, Burchett stated that "you don't expect that sort of thing from an adult, certainly not one who was once third in line for the White House." He also added that he was willing to undergo a polygraph test to prove his claims and challenged McCarthy to do the same.
Rep. Tim Burchett claims on CNN that Kevin McCarthy hit him from behind with "a clean shot to the kidneys" and calls him "a bully" pic.twitter.com/CCLQvNuWHw
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 14, 2023
Burchett, a vocal critic of McCarthy, had been one of the eight representatives who voted against McCarthy's bid for House Speaker in 2015. In the interview, he claimed that McCarthy's actions were deliberate and seemed like that of a "bully." He also expressed disappointment at the lack of consequences for McCarthy, as he would likely "cash in" after Christmas with his $17 million resources and security detail.
When asked about the state of Congress, Burchett remarked that incidents like these were not new, mentioning past instances of duels and fistfights among members. However, he also emphasized that reactions and behaviors may differ depending on the state a person is from. "In Tennessee, if you have a problem with somebody, you take it to them and deal with it face to face," he said, implying that in Southern California, where McCarthy is from, it's acceptable to take a "cheap shot" at someone from behind.
In the aftermath of the altercation, Grisales shared her account of the incident on social media, stating that McCarthy appeared to have deliberately elbowed Burchett as he walked by. Fox News reached out to McCarthy's office for comment, but he has not yet responded.
“Kevin McCarthy and lying are like peanut butter and jelly."
-GOP Rep. Ken Buck responds to Kevin McCarthy denying he shoved and elbowed Congressman Tim Burchett
— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) November 15, 2023
Burchett also shared that he had confronted McCarthy after the incident, stating that it was "no big deal," and he was not hurt. However, the congressman did express his concern over McCarthy's actions and stated that he would continue to pray for him and hope that he finds happiness in his life.
The physical altercation between the two congressmen has raised questions about the state of politics and the behavior of leaders in Congress. As the country deals with a highly polarized political climate, incidents like these only contribute to the divide and raise concerns about the civility of political discourse.
At this point, it is unclear if Burchett plans to take any further action against McCarthy, including filing a House ethics complaint. However, the incident has shed light on the tense atmosphere within the Republican party, especially in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. As the political landscape continues to evolve, it is essential to remember that all members of Congress are expected to conduct themselves with dignity and respect, regardless of their political differences.
The plot thickens. Kevin McCarthy denies delivering a "clean shot to the kidneys" on Rep. Tim Burchett as alleged payback over Speakership ouster:
"I guess our shoulders hit. I did not run and hit the guy. I did not kidney punch him." pic.twitter.com/zQSXXn1O2m
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) November 14, 2023