In a remarkably symbolic move, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) today shoved and elbowed Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), one of the eight Republicans who voted to vacate McCarthy from the speakership. A literal chase then ensued in the halls of the Capitol.
NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales was caught in the crossfire — so to speak — and chased after McCarthy with Burchett, who kept asking McCarthy why he would elbow him in the back.
As described by Grisales, it got interesting after McCarthy elbowed Burchett:
“Burchett’s back was to McCarthy and his detail walking by in the hallway, then the lunge. 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!?'”
Kevin did have the guts to come to an agreement with Democrats and keep the government open, which he knew might cost him his job. Most of us are not McCarthy fans, but that took guts.
But a cheap shot is a cheap shot, and elbowing someone in the back is pretty cheap. And so Burchett chased McCarthy:
“Burchett then looked back at me and said, ‘jerk’ referring to McCarthy. I asked if he had done that before, Burchett said ‘no.’ That’s when the chase ensued. Burchett took off after McCarthy and his detail. I chased behind with my mic,” Grisales tweeted.
Oh, wow – a chase scene. Where is Matt Damon when you need him? Literally, moving on:
“Burchett yelled after catching up to McCarthy, ‘Hey Kevin, why’d you walk behind me and elbow me in the back?’ KM: ‘I didn’t elbow you in the back.’ Burchett: ‘You got no guts, you did so, …the reporter said it right there, what kind of chicken move is that…,'” Grisales added in another tweet.
Is that a question? What kind of chicken move is that? Well, it will get you two minutes in the box in hockey. That’s one way to define it. Maybe there is a similar rule in Congress.
Republicans would need helmets. I’m sure they’d be red, and everyone would wear the number “47.” Grisales continued her account of the incident:
“Burchett con’t: ‘You got no guts, you did so, …the reporter said it right there, what kind of chicken move is that? You’re pathetic man, you are so pathetic.’ Burchett starts to walk away from McCarthy, tells me, ‘What a jerk,’ and then yells back, ‘You need security Kevin!'”
Okay, it’s getting a little old, and we spectators are getting tired of the yelling. Either drop the gloves and go at it, or shut up and play the game. It’s called “Pass the Budget.” But it didn’t end according to Grisales account.
“Burchett tells me that’s the first point of ‘communication’ with McCarthy since Burchett voted for McCarthy’s ouster as speaker last month: ‘That’s just it’ for communication since ouster vote, ‘He’s just a jerk. He’s just a childish little…'”
Wait a minute. Burchett could be considered the instigator, given his vote, after McCarthy did nothing but keep the government open. Plus, the Speaker of the House makes $50,000 (approximately) more than the average representative.
I’m not condoning political violence, but it’s not like Burchett didn’t take a pretty cheap shot at McCarthy, one that cost McCarthy $50,000 going into next year. That is an expensive shot, and yet he kept whining!
“Burchett adds, ‘did you just see that?’ he asks in disbelief. I’m stunned, too. Says he won’t follow up with McCarthy on what happened, ‘he’s on a downhill spiral… he just, that was pretty gutless of him. I’m disappointed in his, in him,” Grisales posted.
Burchett is “disappointed” in McCarthy, but I bet he loves Donald Trump, who only unleashed tens of thousands of people — some with weapons — on Congress itself. Some context is needed.
“Burchett reiterates he hasn’t talked to McCarthy since he voted against him. ‘No, no that was it. That’s it. He’s got $17 million to work against me. And he’s just a — he should have kept his word. I think that just showed what he’s about and it’s unfortunate,'” Grisales writes.
I have no idea what the $17 million is about. You’d have to be a real star and have a good agent to get that in sports. Neither of these guys is worth $100,000.
Rep. Burchett was interviewed afterward still complaining about pain in the kidney:
Rep. Tim Burchett claims on CNN that Kevin McCarthy hit him from behind with "a clean shot to the kidneys" and calls him "a bully" pic.twitter.com/CCLQvNuWHw
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 14, 2023
But it sounds like both of them showed what they’re about, which is consistent with what we’ve seen since January 6th. That is far more than “unfortunate.”
It is rather tragic.
Kindergarten Congress pic.twitter.com/SAqP04ZFgX
— Dog Realtor knows #TrumpWon 🐶♥️🏡 (@DogRealtorAZ) November 14, 2023
Video of the incident was just posted on social media, so you can judge for yourself.
BREAKING NEWS: Kevin McCarthy has been accused of assaulting a fellow Republican lawmaker.
The situation played out just steps away from reporter Claudia Grisales who reports that:
As McCarthy and his detail walked past Tennessee Republican Tim Burchett, Burchett claimed… pic.twitter.com/NCnY6Aonla
— Mary L Trump (@MaryLTrump) November 14, 2023
This column is based on original reporting by Claudia Grisales of NPR.
Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author
Jason Miciak is an associate editor and opinion writer for Occupy Democrats. He's a Canadian-American who grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a trained attorney, but for the last five years, he's devoted his time to writing political news and analysis. He enjoys life on the Gulf Coast as a single dad to a 15-year-old daughter. Hobbies include flower pots, cooking, and doing what his daughter tells him they're doing. Sign up to get all of my posts by email right here: