Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has been accused of shoving a Republican congressman who helped oust him as House speaker.
In an on-camera interview from the Capitol Hill outdoor steps after the alleged incident, Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., alleged McCarthy came up and took a “cheap shot from behind.”
“You don’t expect that sort of thing from an adult, certainly not one who was once third in line for the White House,” Burchett said.
Burchett told reporters that McCarthy’s actions seemed “deliberate.”
“I’ll take a polygraph test. And have Kevin take a polygraph test,” he said. “It was deliberate. It was just a cheap shot by a bully.”
Burchett said he didn’t plan on taking further action against McCarthy, including any House ethics complaint, adding of the former House Speaker would likely “cash in” after Christmas.
“I don’t think it’s OK. These ethics complaints go on for years, and he’s going to be out of here after Christmas. Like I said, he has $17 million and a security detail, and he’ll still be a bully.”
“It’s just like it’s always been. We’re not having duels out here,” Burchett said when asked what the incident might say about the state of Congress. “They’ve had duels in the past and fistfights and everything else. It’s just human nature.”
The alleged physical altercation occurred when Burchett was being interviewed by NPR correspondent Claudia Grisales, who recounted the ordeal in a thread on X.
As Burchett was standing in the hallway of Capitol Hill doing an interview with Grisales, the congressman recalled how “Kevin McCarthy walked by, and he elbowed me in the kidneys.”
“There’s 435 [members of Congress]. I was one of the eight that voted against him. That hallway, there’s plenty of room. You can walk forward side by side, he chose to do what he did,” Burchett said. “I feel sorry for him, and I pray for him every day. You might not believe that, but I do, and I hope he finds some happiness in his life.”
“It was 100% on purpose,” Burchett said, claiming he fell forward. “And what are the chances? 435 members of Congress. Eight of us voted against him… I’m one of them that did it.”
“He didn’t see any cameras. He didn’t think anybody was paying attention, but Claudia from NPR was paying attention.”
Burchett said he chased after McCarthy after the incident.
“This ain’t no big deal,” Burchett said when asked if he was hurt. “It’s just a little different from the way people react in Tennessee than the way they do in California. In Tennessee, if you have a problem with somebody, you take it to them and deal with it face to face. I guess in southern California, where he’s from, you take a cheap shot at somebody from behind.”
Burchett claims McCarthy has $17 million at his disposal and that the former House Speaker is “already messing in everybody’s races.”