Gaetz files ethic complaint against Kevin McCarthy over Burchett altercation

November 15, 2023

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) filed an ethics complaint after Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) claimed that former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) elbowed him in the back.

Burchett was one of eight Republicans who voted against McCarthy remaining House speaker.

The situation

"According to reporter Claudia Grisales and Burchett, McCarthy elbowed the Tennessee Republican in his back while walking past him. Grisales documented that Burchett asked the former speaker why he elbowed him before chasing after him," the Washington Examiner reported.

"McCarthy denied shoving Burchett, to which the lawmaker retorted, 'You got no guts, you did so, ... the reporter said it right there, what kind of chicken move is that,'" it continued.

The accusation

"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.

"This assault was witnessed by multiple people, including Claudia [Grisales] of NPR, who was interviewing Rep. Burchett at the time," he continued.

Serious claims

“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's letter claimed.

"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 noted.

The Florida congressman's disdain for McCarthy is not new, with ongoing criticism against the former speaker.

Gaetz served as the main voice leading the charge to remove McCarthy as House Speaker earlier this year.

The latest allegations add to friction within the GOP as the party's most conservative members argue against working with Democrats in any way, including opposition to the House's recently passed continuing resolution.

Gaetz has already been successful in attacking McCarthy as House Speaker, with a new attempt that may further weaken the leading Republican.

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