GOP lawmaker claims former speaker Kevin McCarthy elbowed him after meeting, sparking altercation

ByJay O'Brien, Benjamin Siegel and Rachel Scott ABCNews logo
Tuesday, November 14, 2023
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Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett, one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust Kevin McCarthy from the speakership last month, claimed to ABC News that McCarthy elbowed him in the back after a House GOP meeting on Tuesday morning.

"He just elbowed me in the kidneys ... It was deliberate. It was just a cheap shot," he said.

McCarthy denied this, according to an NPR reporter who said she witnessed part of the altercation and published the audio of what she saw.

The video is from a previous report.

But Burchett said he was speaking to the NPR reporter when McCarthy walked behind him and allegedly put his elbow intentionally into Burchett's back. Burchett said he was pushed forward and then followed McCarthy down the hallway to confront him.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., right, and Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., left, are seen after a ceremony to nullify the D.C. crime bill, March 10, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
(AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib/FILE)

"I chased after him. I mean, because, you know, you're sitting there thinking, 'What the heck just happened?'" Burchett said.

According to the NPR reporter, Burchett asked McCarthy: "Why'd you walk behind me and elbow me in the back?"

The former speaker responded: "I didn't elbow you in the back."

And Burchett replied: "You got no guts, you did so."