Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) after Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) accused the former House Speaker of assaulting him on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

“It has come to my attention 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 Grisales of NPR, who was interviewing Rep. Burchett at the time,” Gaetz wrote.

“For his part, Rep. Burchett has described the attack as a ‘sucker punch’ and ‘a clean shot to the kidney,'” he added.

Read the full complaint:


Rep. McCarthy denied the allegations.

“I did not run and hit the guy. I did not kidney punch him,” McCarthy told reporters.


Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) told CNN that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) elbowed him as the former House Speaker walked by after a House Republican conference meeting.

Burchett, one of the eight House Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy as Speaker, said the hit was a “clean shot to the kidneys.”

“I chased after him, of course!” Burchett commented.

“As I’ve stated many times, he’s a bully with $17 million and a security detail. He’s the type of guy that when you’re a kid would throw a rock over the fence and run home to hide behind his momma’s skirt,” he said.


NPR reporter Claudia Grisales said she has 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,” Grisales wrote.

Burchett’s back was to McCarthy and his detail walking by in the hallway, then the lunge. Burchett responded jokingly as McCarthy kept walking, ‘Sorry Kevin didn’t mean to elbow –‘ then seriously yelled, ‘why’d you elbow me in the back Kevin?! Hey Kevin, you got any guts!?’” she added.

“Burchett then looked back at me and said, ‘jerk’ referring to McCarthy. I asked if he had done that before, Burchett said ‘no.’ That’s when the chase ensued. Burchett took off after McCarthy and his detail. I chased behind with my mic,” she continued.

“@RepTimBurchett yelled after catching up to McCarthy, ‘Hey Kevin, why’d you walk behind me and elbow me in the back?’ KM: ‘I didn’t elbow you in the back.’ Burchett: ‘You got no guts, you did so, …the reporter said it right there, what kind of chicken move is that…’” she added.


“Burchett con’t: ‘You got no guts, you did so, …the reporter said it right there, what kind of chicken move is that? You’re pathetic man, you are so pathetic.’ Burchett starts to walk away from McCarthy, tells me, ‘What a jerk,’ and then yells back, ‘You need security Kevin!’” she continued.

“Burchett tells me that’s the first point of ‘communication’ with McCarthy since Burchett voted for McCarthy’s ouster as speaker last month: ‘That’s just it’ for communication since ouster vote, ‘He’s just a jerk. He’s just a childish little…’” she added.

“Burchett adds, ‘did you just see that?’ he asks in disbelief. I’m stunned, too. Says he won’t follow up with McCarthy on what happened, ‘he’s on a downhill spiral… he just, that was pretty gutless of him. I’m disappointed in his, in him,’” she continued.

“Burchett reiterates he hasn’t talked to McCarthy since he voted against him. ‘No, no that was it. That’s it. He’s got $17 million to work against me. And he’s just a — he should have kept his word. I think that just showed what he’s about and it’s unfortunate,’” she added.

Per The Hill:

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) filed a formal ethics complaint against former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) after Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) accused the ex-House leader of elbowing him in a hallway Tuesday.

“This incident deserves immediate and swift investigation by the Ethics committee,” Gaetz wrote in a letter to House Ethics Committee Chair Michael Guest (R-Miss.) and ranking member Susan Wild (D-Pa.).

“Congress has seen a substantial increase in breaches of decorum unlike anything we have ever seen since the pre-Civil War era.”

McCarthy appeared to bump into Burchett as he passed in a Capitol hallway Tuesday, which Burchett said was a deliberate elbow to his back.

McCarthy later told reporters the interaction was not deliberate, and that he was simply moving past Burchett in a small hallway.

“I guess our elbows hit as I walked by,” McCarthy later told reporters, including CNN. “If I would hit somebody, they would I know hit them.”

Gaetz took Burchett’s side.

“I myself have been a victim of outrageous conduct on the House floor as well,” Gaetz wrote, an apparent reference to when House Armed Services Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) lunged at Gaetz during the 15-ballot election of McCarthy as Speaker in January, “but nothing like an open and public assault on a Member, committed by another Member. The rot starts at the top.”

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