Rep. Kevin McCarthy reportedly shoved Rep. Tim Burchett in the back after the GOP conference meeting on Tuesday.
The story was witnessed by NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales, who reported the encounter on X, formerly Twitter.
“I have NEVER seen this on Capitol Hill,” she wrote in a Tuesday morning thread.
According to her, Burchett was facing away from McCarthy when the former Speaker of the House and his detail passed Burchett in the hallway.
McCarthy reportedly shoved the congressman, causing him to lunge toward Grisales.
As McCarthy continued walking, Burchett jokingly called out, “Sorry Kevin didn’t mean to elbow—” before switching to a serious tone and yelling, “Why’d you elbow me in the back Kevin?! Hey Kevin, you got any guts!?”
Have NEVER seen this on Capitol Hill:
While talking to @RepTimBurchett after the GOP conference meeting, former @SpeakerMcCarthy walked by with his detail and McCarthy shoved Burchett. Burchett lunged towards me. I thought it was a joke, it was not. And a chase ensued…
— Claudia Grisales (@cgrisales) November 14, 2023
Burchett referred to McCarthy as a “jerk” while speaking to Grisales, who asked if the California representative has ever done that before.
“No,” Burchett replied.
At that point, Burchett chased after McCarthy.
“Hey Kevin, why’d you walk behind me and elbow me in the back?” he asked.
“I didn’t elbow you in the back,” McCarthy responded.
“You got no guts, you did so,” Burchett said. “What kind of chicken move is that? You’re pathetic man, you are so pathetic.”
As the Tennessee congressman walked away, he said, “You need security Kevin!”
Recent reports allege that Kevin McCarthy is involved in a physical altercation with a peer from his party.
Close to journalist Claudia Grisales, the incident unfolded as follows:
Tennessee Republican Tim Burchett accused McCarthy of striking him with an elbow as they crossed… pic.twitter.com/8s9cOd9bw4
— Brian Allen (@allenanalysis) November 14, 2023
Afterward, Burchett told Grisales that the exchange was the first point of communication between the two lawmakers since Burchett voted to oust McCarthy from his position as Speaker of the House.
Burchett told Grisales he would not follow up with McCarthy regarding the incident.
“He’s on a downhill spiral,” he said. “He just, that was pretty gutless of him. I’m disappointed in his, in him.”
“No, no that was it. That’s it,” he added, reiterating that he hadn’t spoken to the former Speaker since his ousting. “He’s got $17 million to work against me. And he’s just a — he should have kept his word. I think that just showed what he’s about and it’s unfortunate.”
Burchett provided a similar account to CNN, adding: “[McCarthy’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 mama’s skirt. … That’s not the way we handle things in east Tennessee. If we have a problem with somebody, I’m gonna look ‘em in the eye.”
Tim Burchett describes the moment where he claims that Kevin McCarthy hit him from behind with a “clean shot to the kidney” in the halls of the Capitol after the GOP conference meeting. pic.twitter.com/lTyH6dM1cQ
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) November 14, 2023
Michael Grider, Burchett’s Chief of Staff, confirmed to Timcast News that Grisales’ reporting was accurate, but declined to comment further. Grider deferred to the details provided by Grisales on X.
A staff member at McCarthy’s Washington, D.C. office declined to comment on the incident. This report will be updated if a comment is provided.
McCarthy, who is the first person to be removed as Speaker of the House in U.S. history, recently commented on whether or not he will pursue re-election in 2024.
“I got the holidays. I’ll talk to my family about the ideas of what [to do] going forward and then I’ll make a decision,” McCarthy said.