Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz filed an ethics complaint Tuesday against former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy after he and Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett, who voted to oust McCarthy as speaker, got into a heated altercation after a closed-door GOP meeting.
As McCarthy and Burchett were leaving the closed-door meeting, McCarthy reportedly bumped into the back of Burchett, to which the Tennessee Republican responded by saying, “Hey Kevin, have some guts,” and also called him a “jerk.” Burchett later claimed that he was elbowed in the back and that the incident caught him off guard “because it was a clean shot to the kidneys.”
Burchett said he chased after him and in an interview said, “if you haven’t been hitting the kidneys, it’s a little different.” (RELATED: ‘Clean Shot To The Kidney’ — McCarthy And GOP Rep Who Voted To Oust Him Get Into Heated Altercation After Closed-Door Meeting)
“It has come to my attention that this morning, November 14, 2023, following a meeting of the House Republican Conference, Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) assaulted Representative Tim Burchett (R-TN) in the hallways of Capitol complex. This assault was witnessed by numerous people, including Claudia Griseles of NPR, who was interviewing Rep. Burchett at the time. For his part, Rep. Burchett has described the attack as a ‘sucker punch’ and ‘a clean shot to the kidney.’ Needless to say, this incident deserves immediate and swift investigation by the Ethics Committee,” Gaetz wrote in the formal ethics complaint.
“This Congress has seen a substantial increase in breaches of decorum unlike anything we have seen since the pre-Civil War era. I myself have been a victim of outrageous conduct on the House floor as well, but nothing like an open and public assault on a Member, committed by another Member. The rot starts at the top. While Rep. Burchett is within his rights to decline to press charges against Rep. McCarthy, your Committee does have a duty to investigate breaches of the binding Code of Official Conduct, whose first rule is that ‘A Member… shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.’ There is substantial evidence that Rep. McCarthy breached this duty,” he continued.
READ THE COMPLAINT HERE:
LISTEN TO THE ALTERCATION HERE:
— Aaron Fritschner (@Fritschner) November 14, 2023
“Given Rep. Burchett’s comments on the matter, and the statements of public witnesses, I request the House Committee on Ethics to proceed immediately with an investigation into the facts of today’s incident, including interviewing, under oath, the alleged assailant and assailee, and any witnesses,” Gaetz added. (RELATED: Sparks Fly After Sen. Mullin Asks Labor Leader Who Insulted Him On Twitter If He Wants To Fight In Middle Of Hearing)
Burchett has not said he would press charges against McCarthy.