GOP Representative Tim Burchett from Tennessee has made serious allegations against former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, claiming that McCarthy elbowed him in the kidneys during a conversation with a reporter. This incident adds to the growing tension within the House GOP, highlighting the volatile dynamics currently at play.
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Burchett, known as one of the eight Republicans who supported McCarthy’s removal, has been openly critical of the former speaker. He described the encounter as being elbowed unexpectedly in the kidneys by McCarthy while speaking to a reporter in a hallway outside the GOP conference meeting. According to Burchett, this action was emblematic of McCarthy’s bullying behavior, likening him to someone who throws a rock over a fence and hides.
Burchett vs Kevin McCarthy
Narrating the incident to CNN’s Manu Raju, Burchett expressed his surprise at the elbowing, stating that when he confronted McCarthy about it, McCarthy dismissed the incident. McCarthy, however, denied the allegations, attributing the incident to the narrowness of the hallway.
The situation escalates against the backdrop of high tensions in Congress. Recently, Senator Markwayne Mullin’s altercation during a Senate committee meeting added to the strained atmosphere. This incident, paired with McCarthy’s denial and explanations, only adds fuel to the ongoing friction.
Burchett remains steadfast in his accusation, dismissing McCarthy’s justifications about the hallway’s tightness. Despite the physical discomfort he experienced, Burchett mentioned he wouldn’t pursue medical attention or legal action but emphasized McCarthy’s history of such behavior.
Responding to McCarthy’s denials and explanations, Burchett expressed little concern, emphasizing his perception of McCarthy’s unsuitability for the position of speaker. He also hinted at McCarthy’s involvement in members’ electoral races, projecting McCarthy’s eventual departure from Congress.
The rift between McCarthy and Burchett has deepened in recent times, with McCarthy expressing surprise over Burchett’s vote against him and their previous disagreements.
As tensions continue to rise in the House, with members working continuously for ten weeks, House Speaker Mike Johnson suggested that the Thanksgiving break might provide a much-needed opportunity for members to decompress.
In a move to escalate the issue, Representative Matt Gaetz is filing a formal ethics complaint against McCarthy regarding the altercation with Burchett. Gaetz, a vocal critic of McCarthy, asserts a duty to investigate the incident, despite not witnessing it firsthand. Gaetz’s action adds to the ongoing feud between him and McCarthy, stemming from their differences, including Gaetz’s support for McCarthy’s removal and McCarthy’s criticism of Gaetz’s ongoing Ethics Committee investigation.
This unfolding controversy further underscores the divisive nature of House politics and the brewing conflicts within the GOP leadership.