Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL.) has filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) after Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) said the former speaker shoved him on Tuesday.
In a letter to Ethics Committee Chairman Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS) Gaetz said that 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. “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 successful effort to remove McCarthy as speaker last month, which Burchett and seven other Republicans, including Gaetz, supported.
Tension between McCarthy and the eight lawmakers have been simmering for weeks since his ouster. On Tuesday Burchett alleged that McCarthy “sucker punched” him “in a shot to the kidney,” and a tense exchange followed during which Burchett called the ex-speaker “pathetic” and said he “got no guts”.
Gaetz added in his letter that “while Rep. Burchett is within his rights to decline to press charges against Rep. McCarthy, your Committee does have a duty to investigate breaches of the binding Code of Official Conduct.”