(DCWatchdog.com) – In a bizarre development showing internal conflicts amid congressional Republicans might be personal as much as political, Rep. Matt Gaetz has filed a complaint against former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, claiming the latter intentionally assaulted another GOP lawmaker.
Reps. Gaetz (R-FL) and Tim Burchett (R-TN) were among the eight GOP legislators who last month sided with the Democrats to oust McCarthy (R-CA) from the speakership.
Gaetz has now submitted an official ethics complaint against McCarthy following a confrontation involving McCarthy and Burchett, which occurred after a private GOP meeting, according to The Daily Caller.
Reportedly, as McCarthy and Burchett were exiting the meeting, McCarthy bumped into Burchett from behind.
Reacting to this, Burchett confronted McCarthy, telling him to “Hey Kevin, have some guts,” and also labeled him a “jerk.”
Burchett later stated that he felt elbowed in the back, describing the encounter as surprising and likening it to “a clean shot to the kidneys.”
“if you haven’t been hitting the kidneys, it’s a little different,” Burchett said about the incident, as cited by National Review.
“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,” Gaetz wrote in his complaint.
“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,” the Florida Republican elaborates.
In his complaint, Gaetz emphasized the severity of such incidents in Congress, comparing them to breaches of decorum not seen since the pre-Civil War era.
He highlighted his own experiences with inappropriate conduct on the House floor, noting, however, that an overt assault by one member on another is particularly egregious.
“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,” Gaetz asserted.