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Matt Gaetz Files Ethics Complaint Against McCarthy Following Assault on Burchett

‘I myself have been a victim of outrageous conduct on the House floor … but nothing like an open and public assault on a Member, committed by another Member’

Rep. Matt Gaetz has filed a formal ethics complaint against Rep. Kevin McCarthy after the congressman blindsided Rep. Tim Burchett by shoving him at the Capitol on Tuesday morning.

“It has come to my attention that … Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) assaulted Representative Tim Burchett (R-TN) in the hallways of the Capitol complex,” Gaetz wrote in his letter to the Committee on Ethics. “This assault was witnessed by numerous people, including Claudia Griseles [sic] of NPR, who was interviewing Rep. Burchett at the time.”

The Florida congressman noted that Burchett described the attack as a “sucker punch” and “a clean shot to the kidney.”

“Needless to say, this incident deserves immediate and swift investigation by the Ethics Committee,” he continued. “This Congress has seen a substantial increase in breaches of decorum unlike anything we have seen since the pre-Civil War era. I myself have been a victim of outrageous conduct on the House floor as well, but nothing like an open and public assault on a Member, committed by another Member. The rot starts at the top.”

Gaetz cited the first rule of the Code of Official Conduct, which mandates Congress members to behave in a manner that reflects the creditability of the House.

The incident was witnessed by NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales, who reported the encounter on X, formerly Twitter, shortly after.

“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!?”

When Burchett chased after McCarthy and asked again why the congressman elbowed him in the back, McCarthy said, “I didn’t elbow you in the back.”

“You got no guts, you did so,” Burchett said. “What kind of chicken move is that? You’re pathetic man, you are so pathetic.”

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.

“He’s on a downhill spiral,” he said. “He just, that was pretty gutless of him. I’m disappointed in his, in him.”

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 provide a comment regarding the incident to Timcast News. This report will be updated if a comment is provided.

Shortly after news of the incident circulated, Gaetz condemned McCarthy’s actions in a pair of X posts.

“McCarthy resorting to pushing people in the halls,” he wrote. “What a weak, pathetic, husk of a man.”

“McCarthy used to push around millions of dollars in lobbyist money,” Gaetz said in a subsequent post. “Now he’s reduced to pushing Rep. Tim Burchett in the back.”

Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) investigations consist of two phases: a preliminary review and a further review. The first phase can take no longer than 30 days, at which point the OCE Board will either recommend further review or dismissal to the Committee on Ethics. From there, the committee will conduct further investigation, impose sanctions, or dismiss the matter, per the OCE website.

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