Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday accused former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) of elbowing him as he passed in a Capitol hallway and chased after the former House leader.
The incident began as Republicans were leaving a conference meeting on early Tuesday and Burchett stopped to talked to reporters in the hall.
Not long after, McCarthy walked down the same hallway and appeared to bump into Burchett as he passed. Burchett says it was deliberate.
Burchett called after McCarthy at the time, while McCarthy kept walking. Burchett acknowledged he chased after McCarthy.
“I was like, ‘what the heck, you know, why did you do that?'” he said.
In remarks to reporters later, McCarthy denied elbowing the congressman. But Burchett is not backing down.
“I was standing there and McCarthy elbowed me in the back,” Burchett told reporters after the encounter.
“I said, ‘Hey, what the heck would you do that for?’ And he acted like, ‘Oh, I didn’t do anything, you know, and he’s just, he needs to go home back to Southern California,” Burchett said.
Burchett is one of the eight GOP lawmakers who voted to oust McCarthy from the Speakership.
McCarthy has been generous in his criticism of the lawmakers since being booted from the top chair, particularly Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who led the effort to oust the Speaker last month.
In an interview with CNN several days ago, McCarthy said he thinks House Republicans would benefit “tremendously” if Gaetz was no longer a member.
“He’ll admit to you personally is he doesn’t have a conservative bent in his philosophy and just the nature of what he focuses on,” McCarthy said, adding “people have to earn the right to be here.”
Pressed about Burchett and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), who also voted to oust McCarthy, the former Speaker said both “care a lot about press not about policy.”
“So, they seem to just want the press,” McCarthy said.
But talking to CNN later on Tuesday, Burchett accused McCarthy of being “a bully with $17 million in security.”
“He’s the type of guy that, when you’re a kid would throw a rock over the fence, and run home and hide behind his momma’s skirt,” he said.
Mychael Schnell contributed. Updated at 12:06 p.m.