Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, has lodged an ethics complaint against Kevin McCarthy, the former speaker of the House.
The complaint pertains to a purported incident that occurred on Tuesday between McCarthy and Republican Representative Tim Burchett of Tennessee.
A news release describing the incident that was published on Gaetz’s website labels it a “assault.”
The release said Burchett referred to the incident as a “sucker punch” and a “clean shot to the kidney.”
“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,” Gaetz wrote, according to a copy of the letter posted on his website.
The letter said that the “incident deserves immediate and swift investigation by the Ethics Committee. “
Both Gaetz and Burchett voted to remove McCarthy as speaker, and McCarthy recently unloaded on the group in an interview w/ @mkraju — with McCarthy especially singling out Gaetz & noting Gaetz is under investigation by Ethics.
Now Gaetz is elevating their feud even further.
— Melanie Zanona (@MZanona) November 14, 2023
“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,” he wrote.
“The rot starts at the top,” Gaetz wrote.
Gaetz stated that the commission must conduct an investigation irrespective of Burchett’s subsequent actions following the altercation with McCarthy.
“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,” the letter said.
“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,” the letter said.
McCarthy has refuted allegations of elbowing Burchett, stating that the corridor was congested during that period, as reported by Axios.
Claudia Grisales, a congressional correspondent for National Public Radio, claims to have observed McCarthy strike Burchett.
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
The Washington Post reports that Burchett was one of eight Republicans who successfully voted to remove McCarthy from the speaker’s office last month.
McCarthy was pursued by Burchett, as per Grisales’ social media posts.
“Why’d you elbow me in the back, Kevin?!” Burchett was reported as saying in an X post by Grisales, adding, “Hey Kevin, you got any guts!?”