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McCarthy slammed with ethics complaint after allegedly shoving GOP lawmaker who ousted him

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Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., is calling for a House ethics investigation into former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for allegedly assaulting another GOP lawmaker, Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., in a U.S. Capitol hallway earlier Tuesday.

Burchett had accused McCarthy of having ‘elbowed [him] in the kidneys’ when walking past him along with his security detail at the end of a members-only House GOP Conference meeting. McCarthy said any contact they made was an accident. Burchett said it was ‘a cheap shot by a bully.’

‘Needless to say, this incident deserves immediate and swift investigation by the Ethics Committee. This Congress has seen a substantial increase in breaches of decorum unlike anything we have seen since the pre-Civil War era,’ Gaetz wrote in a letter to House Ethics Committee Chair Michael Guest, R-Miss.

‘I myself have been a victim of outrageous conduct on the House floor as well, but nothing like an open and public assault on a Member, committed by another Member. The rot starts at the top.’

Gaetz and Burchett were two of eight Republicans who voted with Democrats to oust McCarthy from the speakership last month. 

Burchett told reporters he believed McCarthy targeted him ‘100% on purpose,’ adding, ‘He didn’t see any cameras. He didn’t think anybody was paying attention. But [Claudia Grisales] from NPR was paying attention.’

Gaetz wrote in his ethics complaint that Burchett ‘is within his rights to decline to press charges against Rep. McCarthy.’

‘Given Rep. Burchett’s comments on the matter, and the statements of public witnesses, I request the House Committee on Ethics to proceed immediately with an investigation into the facts of today’s incident, including interviewing, under oath, the alleged assailant and assailee, and any witnesses,’ Gaetz wrote.

The Florida congressman, meanwhile, is the subject of his own probe by the House Ethics Committee over allegations of sexual misconduct and misuse of his funding.

Burchett told reporters earlier that he would not take any action against McCarthy. 

Asked about the incident later, McCarthy told the press, ‘I guess our elbows hit as I walked by. I didn’t punch anyone.’

Fox News’ Kelly Phares and Brianna O’Neill contributed to this report

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