House GOP member accuses Kevin McCarthy of elbowing him in the kidney

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (pictured) is accused of throwing an elbow at a fellow House member while, in another instance, a U.S. senator challenged an organized labor leader to a fistfight Tuesday, marking a tense day on Capitol Hill. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (pictured) is accused of throwing an elbow at a fellow House member while, in another instance, a U.S. senator challenged an organized labor leader to a fistfight Tuesday, marking a tense day on Capitol Hill. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A Republican House member is accusing former speaker Kevin McCarthy of throwing an elbow at him in the halls of the Capitol Building on Tuesday.

Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., alleged in an interview with CNN that he was in an interview for NPR when McCarthy elbowed him in the kidney. He called it a "clean shot to the kidney" and said it caused "a lot of pain."

McCarthy, R-Calif., has not responded to the allegation.

"He's a bully with $17 million and a security detail," Burchett said. "He's the type of guy that when you're a kid he'd throw a rock over the fence and run and hide behind his mama's skirt."

Burchett said he chased after McCarthy after the incident.

Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., alleged in an interview with CNN that he was in an interview for NPR in the halls of the Capitol Building when Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., elbowed him in the kidney. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., alleged in an interview with CNN that he was in an interview for NPR in the halls of the Capitol Building when Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., elbowed him in the kidney. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

"Just ran after him. I was like, 'why did you do that?'" he said. "He just -- as he always does -- denied it. I just backed off because I saw no reason. I wasn't gaining anything from it. Everybody saw it so it didn't really matter."

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz penned a letter to ethics committee chairman Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., and ranking member Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., asking them to investigate the incident.

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz penned a letter to ethics committee chairman Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., and ranking member Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., asking them to investigate an allegation that Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., elbowed another House member. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz penned a letter to ethics committee chairman Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., and ranking member Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., asking them to investigate an allegation that Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., elbowed another House member. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

"This Congress has seen a substantial increase in breaches of decorum unlike anything we have seen since the pre-Civil War era," Gaetz wrote. "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 led the charge to oust McCarthy as House speaker in October. The pair reportedly later had a heated exchange during a House Republican caucus meeting as they debated over their next speaker candidate.

"I was at the mic. I was speaking and Matt Gaetz tried to interrupt ," McCarthy said. "I told him to sit down and he sat down. I think the entire conference screamed at him. The whole country I think would scream at Matt Gaetz right now."

Congress has until midnight on Friday to pass an appropriations bill and avoid a government shutdown.