Just days after Kevin McCarthy was accused of elbowing a colleague in the kidneys, former Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger claimed the ousted House speaker also roughed him up “twice” while he was in office.
Mr Kinzinger appeared on CNN to discuss his book Renegade, in which he describes the encounters. In one incident, Mr Kinzinger claimed he was “leaning” in the back of the House when “Wham! I get shoulder-checked.” He said, “I turn, and Kevin McCarthy is already walking past me.”
Three weeks later, Mr McCarthy “shoulder-checks me again like when you’re in fourth grade,” the former Illinois congressman said.
“What a child!” Mr Kinzinger remarked.
“What are the chances that I write about this in a book that comes out, he does it to this guy in Tennessee and he’s saying it was an accident,” he said, referring to Rep Tim Burchett, who accused Mr McCarthy of elbowing him in the kidneys earlier this week.
“Kevin McCarthy has compromised his values so much that he’s lashing out now on the people that are calling him out,” Mr Kinzinger opined.
“I hope he gets help,” he continued, calling Mr McCarthy “an angry man.”
He chalked up the former House speaker’s aggressive tendencies to being upset with those who got in his way. “I was a threat” to his speakership, Mr Kinzinger said. Similarly, Mr Burchett was one of eight Republicans to vote to oust Mr McCarthy from his post.
He added, “And when you lash out physically in this job, it goes to show something’s broken.”
On 14 November, Mr Burchett alleged that Mr McCarthy also got physical with him. The Tennessee Republican told CNN that he “got elbowed in the back and it kind of caught me off guard because it was a clean shot to the kidneys. And I turned back (and) there, there was Kevin.”
In the wake of the incident, Florida Rep Matt Gaetz filed an ethics complaint for Mr McCarthy’s “assault” against Mr Burchett. “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,” Mr Gaetz wrote.