- Three heated incidents occurred on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, reflecting the high tensions in the House of Representatives.
- Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) accused Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) of elbowing him in the back during a hallway interview.
- Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) challenged Teamsters President Sean O’Brien to a fight during a Senate committee hearing.
Tensions were high across Capitol Hill on Tuesday, exemplified by several fiery incidents, including one that nearly erupted into physical violence.
The House of Representatives has been in session for 10 weeks straight, during which it has dealt with a spending battle, removed its sitting speaker, struggled to appoint a new speaker, and just barely averted another spending fight when House Democrats assisted House Republicans in passing a laddered continuing resolution.
The stress of these conflicts, particularly within the House Republican Conference, is seemingly reaching a boiling point, as three heated moments occurred Tuesday — two of which took place before noon.
The first incident happened during a hallway interview Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) was doing with a reporter for NPR. In a recording of the altercation, Burchett can be heard asking Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) why he elbowed him in the back. The Tennessee congressman is one of the eight Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy from the speakership last month. According to Burchett, they hadn’t spoken since.
After McCarthy allegedly elbowed Burchett in the kidney, Burchett chased the former speaker to question him again. McCarthy denied doing so. Later, McCarthy said Burchett’s accusations were overblown. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who led the charge to oust McCarthy from the speakership, escalated the event by filing a complaint to the House Ethics Committee calling for an “immediate and swift investigation.”
In another incident, Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) stood up during a Senate committee hearing Tuesday morning and prepared to fight one of the witnesses, Teamsters President Sean O’Brien. The senator used his time to recite a tweet from O’Brien, in which he challenged Mullin to a fight.
“Sir, this is a time. This is a place. You want to run your mouth? We can be two consenting adults — we can finish it here,” he said.
Both men appeared to stand up and prepare to fight before Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) intervened.
In a contentious exchange during a House Oversight Committee hearing, Chairman James Comer (R-KY) told Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), who was donning a blue plaid suit, that he looked like a smurf. The comment came after the Democrat suggested Comer should be deposed over a loan to his brother — similar to a loan Comer is investigating President Joe Biden for.
“No, I’m not gonna give you your time back. We can stop the clock,” Comer said. “You all continue to — you look like a smurf here just going around and all this stuff.”
He has “never loaned” his brother any money, according to Comer.
Moskowitz has said Comer is a hypocrite for conducting such an investigation into Biden’s family and finances while not sitting for a deposition himself over his family’s money lending.
“I will sit with Hunter Biden and Joe Biden, and we can go over our LLC,” Comer told him. “Let’s do that. We’ll be transparent.”
Capitol Hill’s chaos reached new heights on Tuesday, with three shocking incidents showcasing the boiling tensions within the House of Representatives. It’s evident that the continuous 10-week session, fraught with spending battles and leadership changes, has taken its toll on lawmakers.
From alleged physical altercations between Reps. Burchett and McCarthy to Sen. Mullin’s fight challenge against Teamsters President O’Brien, it’s clear that civility has been tossed aside.
Even Chairman Comer’s smurf remark toward Rep. Moskowitz underscores the bitter atmosphere. This juvenile behavior distracts from the real issues at hand and only serves to further divide our nation.
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