Tensions ran high on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, with Republican lawmakers getting physically violent with one another and threatening violence against others, as well as hurling schoolyard insults at Democratic members.
Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy allegedly elbowed Tennessee Republican Rep. Tim Burchett — one of the eight GOP House members who voted to oust McCarthy from the speakership in October — in a hallway in the Capitol. Meanwhile, on the Senate side, Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) threatened to get into a physical fight with a witness at a hearing.
On top of that, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer called Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz of Florida a “smurf,” and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) called California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa a “pussy.”
“Can we stop with stereotypes & lies, open our [eyes] & be REAL about the degradation of our institution & do something about it (VOTE THEM OUT!),” Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) wrote in a post on X, before describing the Tuesday behavior of Republicans on Capitol Hill.
NPR reporter Claudia Grisales, who said she witnessed the McCarthy incident, said that McCarthy shoved Burchett unprovoked.
“What kind of chicken move is that?” Burchett told McCarthy after the incident, according to Grisales. “You’re pathetic, man, you are so pathetic.”
McCarthy denied that he hit Burchett.
“I guess our shoulders hit,” McCarthy told reporters who asked him about the incident.
In an interview with CNN after the altercation, Burchett called McCarthy “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 and hide behind his mama’s skirt.”
In a House Oversight Committee hearing, Comer got angry at Moskowitz for pointing out that Comer had made loans to his brother, just as President Joe Biden had made a loan to his own brother. Comer has said that a $200,000 loan Biden made to James Biden amounted to corruption.
“You look like a Smurf here, just going around and stuff!” Comer said to Moskowitz. “You continue to spew disinformation!”
In another incident in the House, Greene called her GOP colleague Issa a “pussy” for voting against her attempt to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Issa had said that Greene lacked the “maturity and experience” to know how to correctly bring an article of impeachment to the floor.
Meanwhile, across the Capitol at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Mullin challenged Sean O’Brien, the president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, to a fight. Mullin was apparently angry at tweets O’Brien had posted.
“This is the time, this is the place. If you want to run your mouth, we can be two consenting adults. We can finish it here,” Mullin said, later telling O’Brien to “stand your butt up” to fight.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who chairs the committee, yelled at Mullin to cut it out.
“You are a United States senator!” Sanders said. “This is a hearing, and God knows the American people have enough contempt for Congress. Let’s not make it worse.”