Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was accused Tuesday of elbowing one of the eight Republicans who voted to strip him of the gavel last month.
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) told CNN that McCarthy (R-Calif.) hit him with a “clean shot to the kidneys” as the former speaker walked past Burchett following a House Republican conference meeting.
NPR reporter Claudia Grisales, who was talking with Burchett at the time, tweeted that the impact almost knocked the 59-year-old Tennessean into her.
“Why’d you elbow me in the back, Kevin?” Burchett yelled after the former speaker, according to Grisales. “Hey Kevin, you got any guts!?”
Burchett then chased after McCarthy, who denied he’d done anything untoward.
“I didn’t elbow you in the back,” McCarthy said, according to Grisales.
“You got no guts, you did so … the reporter said it right there, what kind of chicken move is that?” Burchett said before adding: “You’re pathetic, man, you are so pathetic.”
“He’s a bully with $17 million and a security detail,” Burchett told CNN afterward. “I’m probably not going to do an ethics complaint on him. He’s not worth it.”
Burchett, seven other Republicans and 208 Democrats joined forces to declare the speakership vacant Oct. 3, triggering a three-week fight for the gavel that was ultimately won by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.).