Disputes between Republicans in Congress grew further on Tuesday, with one lawmaker accusing the former Speaker of the House of Representatives of elbowing him in the kidney, while a Republican senator challenged a union leader to a duel during a hearing.
Republican lawmaker Tim Burchett accused fellow Republican Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted as House Speaker earlier last month, of elbowing him in an incident at the Capitol witnessed by a reporter. of National Public Radio (NPR), which recorded the exchange between them.
“Why did you elbow me in the back, Kevin?” said lawmaker Burchett, according to audio released by NPR. “What kind of move is that? You’re so pathetic.”
McCarthy later denied punching lawmaker Burchett, one of eight Republicans who voted to oust him as House Speaker.
“I didn’t hit anybody,” McCarthy told reporters.
“It took me by surprise. It was a pure kick to the kidneys,” Legislator Burchett later told CNN. “I just didn’t expect a man who was once third in line to the President to punch you in the hallway.”
The incident comes at a time of escalating violent rhetoric from Republican politicians, including former President Donald Trump, who is leading the Republican presidential race.
The McCarthy-Burchett dispute occurred the same day that US Senator Markwayne Mullin rose from his seat and challenged Teamsters union president Sean O’Brien to a duel, before the committee chairman stepped in to defuse tensions.
House Speaker Mike Johnson said he hoped the upcoming Thanksgiving break would give lawmakers a chance to “cool off” after grueling weeks of wrangling over budget issues and the House Speaker’s post. , following the ouster of Mr. McCarthy.
“This country is a pressure cooker,” Mr Johnson said at a news conference on Tuesday. “Everyone can go home and come back with new energy.”