Ousted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy denied elbowing colleague Rep. Tim Burchett, claiming the Tennessee congressman would ‘know it’ if he did because he’d be ‘on the ground.’
Burchett is one of the eight Republicans who voted McCarthy out last month, and Burchett told DailyMail.com the hallway fight was their first interaction since McCarthy was fired from the speakership.
The Tennessee Republican called McCarthy ‘pathetic’ and said ‘you got no guts’ after the former speaker allegedly shoved him during the heated clash on Tuesday.
‘If I hit somebody, they would know it. If I kidney punched someone, they would be on the ground,’ McCarthy told reporters after the incident.
According to McCarthy’s retelling of the story, ‘I guess our shoulders hit. Because Burchett runs up to me afterwards. I didn’t know what he’s talking about.’
Burchett later confirmed that her account of what happened was accurate.
‘Burchett responded jokingly as McCarthy kept walking, “Sorry Kevin didn’t mean to elbow –” then seriously yelled, “why’d you elbow me in the back Kevin?! Hey Kevin, you got any guts!?’ Grisales tweeted.
‘You’re pathetic man, you are so pathetic,’ Burchett said to McCarthy, according to Grisales.
After the incident Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who was not present at the incident, filed a formal ethics complaint against McCarthy.
Burchett later told reporters the shove was not meant as a joke and was hard enough that he could still feel it.
‘It was a clean shot to the kidney,’ he said.
Of McCarthy, Burchett said: ‘He’s just a bully with $17 million and a security detail.’
‘He’s beat and he knows it. All his tricks to throw us into bedlam didn’t work,’ Burchett said, referring to whispers that McCarthy was quietly working to undermine candidates looking to succeed him during the speaker’s race.
Burchett scoffed when asked if he would introduce a motion to censure McCarthy for getting physical.
‘Heck no man I’m from East Tennessee. If I’m gonna handle it we’ll do it out in the parking lot. Look I’m not gonna be fighting or anything. It would be a very short fist fight, I can tell you that.’
The Tennessee Republican went on: ‘It’s like a kid who throws a rock over a fence and runs home and hides behind his mama’s skirt. He’s got his security detail around him so nobody’s gonna be able to do anything. Why does he still have the security detail is the question.’
Asked whether he thought McCarthy would finish out his term as a rank-and-file member, Burchett told DailyMail.com: ‘I don’t know. I’d say he’s gonna cash in, wouldn’t you?’