Members of Congress are seeking to avoid a government shutdown by the end of the week and thousands of demonstrators have gathered on the Capitol lawn in support of Israel, but the real theatrics have been inside, with resentments nearly coming to physical blows.
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) accused former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) of elbowing him in the kidney as Burchett was doing an interview Tuesday with NPR. Burchett was one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy as speaker last month.
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NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales posted a play-by-play of what she saw happen. She wrote that as she was interviewing Burchett, McCarthy walked by with his security detail and “McCarthy shoved Burchett.”
Burchett lunged toward her, she wrote, but she thought it “was a joke.”
She wrote, “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!?'”
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…
— Claudia Grisales (@cgrisales) November 14, 2023
She wrote that Burchett then took off after McCarthy. “I chased behind with my mic,” she wrote.
Burchett then yelled at McCarthy after catching up with him, she wrote. “Hey Kevin, why’d you walk behind me and elbow me in the back?”
McCarthy, though, denied doing so.
Burchett yelled at him. “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,” he said to McCarthy, per Grisales.
In an interview with CNN’s Manu Raju, Burchett confirmed Grisales’ account. “He’s a bully with $17 million and a security detail,” he said. McCarthy later told reporters that they were in a crowded hallway and he accidentally bumped into Burchett.
After Burchett spoke to CNN, anchors Kate Bolduan and John Berman did a dramatic reading of Grisales’ account.
The incident wasn’t the only one on the Hill today.
At a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) challenged one of the witnesses testifying to a physical fight. The witness, Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien, had tweeted about Mullin five times, the senator noted. He read one post: “Greedy CEO who pretends like he is self made. In reality, just a clown & fraud. Always has been, always will be. Quit the tough guy act in these senate hearings. You know where to find me. Anyplace, Anytime cowboy.”
Mullin then said to O’Brien, “If you want to run your mouth, we can be two consenting adults. We can finish it here.”
“OK, that’s fine. Perfect,” O’Brien responded.
Then Mullin said, “You want to do it right now?”
“I would love to do it right now,” O’Brien said.
“Well, stand your butt up then,” Mullin said.
“You stand your butt up big guy,” O’Brien said.
Mullin then stood up, before the committee chair, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said, “Stop it. You are a United States senator.”
“This is a hearing. God knows the American people have enough contempt for Congress,” Sanders said.
Mullin and O’Brien continued to have a verbal tiff while Sanders banged his gavel.
Tensions also were apparent at another hearing, in which Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, got in a verbal confrontation with Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), one of the committee members. Comer used an expletive as Moskowitz took aim at Comer’s finances. Comer also told Moskowitz, “You look like a Smurf.”
Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) challenges Teamsters leader Sean O’Brien to a physical fight, standing up midway through a Senate HELP Committee hearing.
Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) repeatedly attempts to break them up: “You’re a United States senator.” pic.twitter.com/E4U624cDsS
— The Recount (@therecount) November 14, 2023
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