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Burchett on McCarthy elbowing: ‘I prayed for him’

Rep. Tim Burchett says he feels sorry for Kevin McCarthy after Tuesday’s events on the Hill, when he claims the former House speaker elbowed him in the back.

“I prayed for him this morning because I know he’s hurting,” the Tennessee Republican said Wednesday on CNN, adding, “It’s just a sad commentary on his life. I’m sorry for him. I really am. I feel sorry for him.”

Burchett told reporters on Tuesday that McCarthy elbowed him in “a clean shot to the kidneys” while Burchett was speaking to a reporter, and that he chased after the former speaker to ask why he elbowed him. McCarthy denied that he elbowed Burchett to CNN later on Tuesday: “I didn’t shove or elbow him, it’s a tight hallway.”

Burchett called the incident “bizarre.”

“I’m sure right after he did it, he regretted it,” Burchett said. “And I have moved on. I have no vengeance towards him.”

A spokesperson for McCarthy did not immediately respond to POLITICO’s request for comment.

The hallway scuffle unveils the tensions simmering in the party since Burchett and seven other House Republicans voted to oust McCarthy as speaker last month.

Burchett declined to file an ethics complaint against McCarthy on Tuesday, though Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) filed one later on that evening.

When asked if McCarthy should resign, Burchett told CNN that he doesn’t “care what he does.”

“It doesn’t matter. The sooner he leaves, the sooner he will be making seven figures being a lobbyist,” Burchett told CNN. “Let’s be honest, he’s not going back to Bakersfield … 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.”

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