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Kevin McCarthy allegedly attacks Tennessee congressman in Capitol hallway

In this photo from June 23, 2021, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks at a press conference about COVID-19 and China. (Michael Brochstein/Zuma Wire/TNS)
November 15, 2023

Rep. Tim Burchett, a Republican congressman from Tennessee, told CNN that former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy elbowed him during a House Republican conference meeting. Burchett is one of eight Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy from the speakership last month.
According to Burchett, McCarthy hit him with a “clean shot to the kidneys.”

NPR reporter Claudia Grisales was speaking with the Tennessee congressman at the time and shared on X that McCarthy’s jab almost knocked Burchett into her.

“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…,” Grisales wrote.

Burchett called out McCarthy in the moment, saying, “Why’d you elbow me in the back, Kevin?”

“Hey Kevin, you got any guts? Jerk,” he added before chasing after McCarthy.

The former speaker denied any wrongdoing.

“I didn’t elbow you in the back,” McCarthy insisted.

“You got no guts, you did so … the reporter said it right there, what kind of chicken move is that?” Burchett responded. “You’re pathetic, man, you are so pathetic.”

“What a jerk,” Burchett continued. “You need security, Kevin.”

READ MORE: McCarthy voted out as Speaker of the House

Burchett later told CNN that McCarthy is a “bully with $17 million and a security detail.

“I’m probably not going to do an ethics complaint on him. He’s not worth it,” he added.

After the incident ended, McCarthy once again denied hitting Burchett.

“I guess our shoulders hit because Burchett [ran] up to me after — I didn’t know what he was talking about,” McCarthy told reporters. “I didn’t run and hit the guy, I did not kidney-punch him.”

“If I would hit somebody, they would know I hit them,” McCarthy added.