Tennessee Congressman Tim Burchett is standing by his story that ousted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy elbowed him in a heated clash in the hallways of the Capitol on Tuesday.
Burchett is one of eight Republicans who voted out McCarthy last month, and Burchett told DailyMail.com that the hallway fight was their first interaction since McCarthy was fired as speaker.
McCarthy denied elbowing colleague Burchett in a news conference later Tuesday, claiming the Tennessee congressman “would know” if he did because he would be “on the spot.”
But speaking to Fox on Tuesday night, Burchett not only confirmed the story but called it an example of McCarthy’s political career going down and why he and his colleagues had grown tired of him as a speaker.
“I’m afraid it’s just a sad asterisk at the end of his career as he spirals out of control,” Burchett said.
Tennessee Congressman Tim Burchett is standing by his account that ousted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy elbowed him in a heated clash in the hallways of the Capitol on Tuesday
He said he doesn’t know why McCarthy attacked him, but believes it had to do with the fact that he was one of eight Republicans who helped remove him from power.
“This is just indicative… it really shows America the reason why the eight of us chose to vote out Kevin McCarthy,” he said.
He then criticized McCarthy’s attempt to pass a “pork-filled” budget, which left new speaker Patrick Johnson – who Burchett called “an honorable man” – less than two weeks to pass a new budget .
Earlier Tuesday, the Tennessee Republican called McCarthy “pathetic” and said “you have no guts” after the former speaker allegedly shoved him during Tuesday’s heated clash.
McCarthy responded by telling CNN that Burchett would have felt it if he had actually hit him.
“If I hit someone, they would know. If I punched someone in the kidney they would be on the ground,” McCarthy told reporters after the incident.
According to McCarthy’s retelling of the story, “I think our shoulders touched.” Because Burchett comes to me next. I didn’t know what he was talking about.’
The incident occurred while McCarthy was at the Capitol with his security officers NPR reporter Claudia Grisaleswho was there at the time.
McCarthy denied elbowing colleague Burchett during a press conference later Tuesday, claiming the Tennessee congressman “would know” if he did because he would be “on the spot.”
Speaking to Fox Tuesday night, Burchett doubled down and not only confirmed the story but called it another example of McCarthy’s political career going south and why he and his colleagues had grown tired of him as a speaker.
Burchett later confirmed that her account of what happened was accurate.
Burchett responded jokingly as McCarthy continued, “Sorry, Kevin didn’t mean to elbow me -” and then shouted seriously, “Why did you elbow me in the back Kevin?! Hey Kevin, you got guts!?’ Grisales tweeted.
“You’re a pathetic man, you’re so pathetic,” Burchett told McCarthy, according to Grisales.
After the incident, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who was not present for the incident, filed a formal ethics complaint against McCarthy.
Burchett later told reporters that the push was not meant as a joke and was so hard that he could still feel it.
“It was a hit,” he said.
Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark), who was walking and talking with McCarthy during the incident, said he didn’t see any pushing.
“We walked past Burchett and the next thing I knew he was shouting at McCarthy,” he told DailyMail.com.
Burchett is one of eight Republicans who voted out McCarthy, and the pair have had an extremely frosty relationship since October
Of McCarthy, Burchett said, “He’s just a bully with $17 million and a security detail.”
‘He is defeated and he knows it. All his tricks to throw us into chaos didn’t work,” Burchett said, referring to whispers that McCarthy was quietly working to undermine candidates seeking to succeed him in the speaker’s race.
Burchett scoffed when asked if he wanted to file a motion to convict McCarthy because he was physically treated.
“Heck no man, I’m from East Tennessee. If I handle it, we’ll do it in the parking lot. Look, I’m not gonna fight or anything. It would be a very short fistfight, I can tell you that.”
The Tennessee Republican continued: “It’s like a child throwing a rock over a fence, running home and hiding behind his mother’s skirt. He has his security staff around him, so no one can do anything. The question is why he still has the security detail.”
Asked whether he thought McCarthy would complete his term as a full member, Burchett told DailyMail.com: ‘I don’t know. I’d say he’s going to make money, right?’