Tim Burchett Says He Pities, Prays for Kevin McCarthy After Elbowgate Scuffle: ‘I Know He’s Hurting’ (Video)

The Republican representative from Tennessee says the physical altercation is “a sad commentary” on the former speaker’s life

Tim Burchett and Kevin McCarthy
Tim Burchett and Kevin McCarthy (Credit: Getty Images)

Following former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s viral “clean shot” to Rep. Tim Burchett’s kidneys Tuesday, the assailed Republican from Tennessee says he’s “moved on” and that he’s praying for McCarthy.

“I know he’s hurting,” Burchett told “CNN This Morning” on Wednesday — before giving him some southern side-eye over his inevitable future as a Washington lobbyist: “Even though he does have $17 million in his account to play mischief in everybody’s campaigns, which he has frequently said he will do.”

“The sooner he leaves, though, the sooner he’ll be making seven figures being a lobbyist,” Burchett said, reflecting aloud on whether or not McCarthy should resign after the incident. “I mean, let’s be honest. He’s not going back to Bakersfield. Let’s just be honest about that. He’ll be lobbying up here and making big money, and if he feels like he doesn’t have a shot back to the speakership, and I suspect after Mike Johnson’s deal last night, he won’t be back.”

NPR’s Claudia Grisales tweeted early Tuesday morning about the incident, which occurred while she was interviewing Burchett. “Have NEVER seen this on Capitol Hill: While talking to @RepTimBurchett after the GOP conference meeting, former @SpeakerMcCarthy walked by with his detail and McCarthy shoved Burchett. Burchett lunged towards me. I thought it was a joke, it was not. And a chase ensued…”

“We were just standing out there after conference and I always talk to the press, and she was interviewing me and I fell forward after Kevin popped me in the back, and then, you know, he just kept walking with his security detail,” Burchett recalled to CNN Wednesday. “And really, it’s just a sad commentary on him and his spiraling out of leadership.”

“CNN This Morning” coanchor Phil Mattingly tried getting to the heart of the matter: What is the beef between Burchett and McCarthy? Is it deeper than the public already knows?

“Why are you at this point with him right now?” Mattingly asked the representative, who voted to oust McCarthy from the speakership in October.

“Yeah, I have no idea. It’s a really bizarre thing that just happened. I’m sure right after he did it he regretted it. You know, and I’ve moved on. I’ve got no vengeance towards him,” Burchett said. “I prayed for him this morning, as a matter of fact, because I know he’s hurting, even though he does have $17 million in his account to play mischief in everybody’s campaigns, which he has frequently said he will do. So I, you know, it’s just a sad commentary on his life. And I’m sorry for him, I really am. I feel sorry for him because this is not the way to go out.”

Watch Burchett’s full “CNN This Morning” interview in the video above.

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