Democrats have condemned the statement made by Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy on Saturday, 31 July, when he said that it "will be hard not to hit" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the gavel if Republicans take control of the chamber in next year’s midterms and he becomes Speaker.
McCarthy made the statement at a Tennessee Republican Party fundraiser, when he was handed an oversized gavel by members of the state's Republican members of Congress.
He can be heard saying in an audio clip, "I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel. It will be hard not to hit her with it," which was posted on Twitter by a Main Street Nashville reporter.
Though a spokesperson for McCarthy said that he was “obviously joking”, the ‘joke’ has not gone down well with others.
Pelosi's spokesperson and deputy chief of staff condemned the remark and said in a tweet, "A threat of violence to someone who was a target of a #January6th assassination attempt from your fellow Trump supporters is irresponsible and disgusting.”
The comments also drew backlash from a number of congressional Democrats.
Congresswoman Annie Kuster said in a tweet, “Not shocked to hear it coming from someone who voted NO on the Violence Against Women Act.”
New York Rep Hakeem Jeffries said, “Violence against women is no laughing matter," demanding the House minority leader to apologise.
Meanwhile, California Rep Eric Swalwell demanded for McCarthy's resignation saying, “America has suffered enough violence around politics.”
He added that McCarthy is now a would-be assailant of Speaker Pelosi.
Congresswoman Lori Trohan said in a tweet, “It’s no wonder Kevin McCarthy can’t control his caucus. He can’t even control his own misogyny. His language about assaulting Speaker Pelosi is despicable and certainly undeserving of a gavel.”
Calling McCarthy a “failed leader”, Congresswoman Madelein Dean said in a tweet, “He continues to reminds us that nothing will get in the way of his ambitions — including joking about hitting a woman to excite his small base.”
Pelosi and McCarthy have been quarreling over the appointments to the House select committee, investigating into the 6 January attack on the US Capitol and the reinstatement of a mask mandate in the House, after new guidelines were released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
As Pelosi rejected two of the five House Republicans McCarthy had picked for the panel, he pulled all of his picks from the panel.
When Pelosi informed him of the decision, McCarthy protested and said, “What you're doing is unprecedented," CNN reported, quoting sources.
In response to McCarthy’s criticism of the reinstated mask mandate, Pelosi called McCarthy a "moron".
(With inputs from CNN)
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