Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy became embroiled in a physical altercation with GOP Representative Tim Burchett on Tuesday, leaving witnesses stunned as the incident unfolded in a Capitol Hill hallway.
The confrontation, documented by NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales on social media, began when McCarthy allegedly shoved Burchett as they crossed paths. Grisales described the scene, recounting that Burchett initially thought it was a joke before realizing the seriousness of the situation. Subsequently, a chase unfolded, with the Tennessee Republican following McCarthy down a hallway, vehemently questioning why he had been struck.
“I didn’t elbow you in the back,” McCarthy reportedly retorted to Burchett, who insisted, “You got no guts, you did so…the reporter said it right there. What kind of chicken move is that? You’re pathetic, man, you are so pathetic.”
This incident comes on the heels of Burchett being one of eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy as speaker in October. The exchange turned physical, with McCarthy accused of delivering a blow to Burchett’s kidneys.
“He’s a bully with $17 million and a security detail,” stated Burchett, expressing his view on McCarthy’s behavior.
In an additional social media post, Grisales highlighted that this encounter marked the first “communication” between Burchett and McCarthy since the ouster vote. Burchett remarked, “He’s just a jerk. He’s just a childish little…”
When interviewed by CNN, Burchett shared his surprise at the unexpected elbow shot, characterizing it as a “clean shot to the kidneys.” He raised his voice in response, noting the shock of being physically confronted by someone who was once three steps away from the White House. Burchett emphasized that the altercation was unexpected, especially considering the ample space in the hallway.
The incident quickly garnered reactions on social media, with one user characterizing the involved parties as “children.” Another suggested that McCarthy’s actions might be a response to Burchett’s vote against him, adding a touch of humor by referencing the attire choices of those involved.
As the news of the altercation circulates, questions arise about the nature of internal dynamics within the GOP and the repercussions of the ongoing tensions among party members.