House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) should perhaps make more pointless videos about Dr. Seuss books instead of the shenanigans that he’s been up to lately. He recently got dragged by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WI) for attempting to “prevent” people from understanding what went down on January 6. That felt like a very peaceful interaction, however, compared to the hot water that McCarthy found himself in on Sunday.
First, it’s worth reflecting upon the above Getty photo (from January 2019) that shows House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) receiving the gavel from McCarthy as Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives. Well, McCarthy wants that gavel back as House Speaker. As revealed in audio footage, which was posted to Twitter by Main Street Nashville reporter Vivian Jones, McCarthy declared (during a fundraising dinner in Tennessee, in which he was presented with a supersized gavel, according to the Washington Post‘s Michael Sherer) something not so great. “I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel,” McCarthy said. “It will be hard not to hit her with it but I will bang it down.” The remarks drew an audible reaction from the crowd.
— Vivian Jones (@Vivian_E_Jones) August 1, 2021
Nope, not good. This is only the latest display of animosity between the two lawmakers after they butted heads on who would sit on the House panel that’s in charge of investigating January 6. And recently, Pelosi referred to McCarthy as a “moron” over his anti-masking stance, but McCarthy’s remark goes, well, further. In response, Pelosi Chief of Staff Drew Hammill tweeted, “A threat of violence to someone who was a target of a #January6th assassination attempt from your fellow Trump supporters is irresponsible and disgusting.”
MSNBC’s Chris Jansing soon relayed that word from a McCarthy spokesperson, who said that the congressman “was obviously joking” when he made these remarks.
A spokesman for Kevin McCarthy says he was “obviously joking” when he said it would be “hard not to hit” @SpeakerPelosi with the gavel if he becomes speaker.
— Chris Jansing (@ChrisJansing) August 1, 2021
However, several Democratic lawmakers pushed back, including Rep. Hakeem Jefferies (D-NY), Rep. Eric Stalwell (D-CA), and Rep. Debbie Dingel (D-MI), and Ted Lieu (D-CA). They called for an apology and/or a resignation on McCarthy’s behalf, given that violence against women is no joke.
Violence against women is no laughing matter.
— Hakeem Jeffries (@hakeemjeffries) August 1, 2021
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) August 1, 2021
— Rep. Debbie Dingell (@RepDebDingell) August 1, 2021
Dear @GOPLeader McCarthy: Don’t you think America has had enough political violence? You should never be encouraging or threatening or joking about causing violence to anyone, including the Speaker of the House. You need to apologize for your statement, or resign. https://t.co/jdP2bcmr5c
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) August 1, 2021
Those calls were echoed by much of social media, which wasn’t amused by the “joke.”
Do you all agree that Kevin McCarthy should resign?
— ༺🦋༻ᗰᗩƳᖇᗩ༺🦋༻ (@LepapillonBlu) August 1, 2021
Spokesperson said Kevin McCarthy was “obviously joking” when he said it would be “hard not to hit” Speaker Pelosi
Jokes about abusing women result in actual abuse of women
Some of us know. We’ve been there@GOPLeader you’re godawful and not even fit to lead the minority
— Lindy Li (@lindyli) August 2, 2021
— David Weissman (@davidmweissman) August 1, 2021
Hey Kevin McCarthy/@GOPLeader — how many women got hit and will get hit because of what you said last night? You were NOT joking. You want violence. You're committing Stochastic Terrorism. Resign. Now.
— Dr. Jack Brown (@DrGJackBrown) August 2, 2021
.@GOPLeader is stupid.
And he’s a pig.
This isn’t surprising.
It’s just more of the same shit from these people.
Anyone that supports today’s GOP should be ashamed of themselves because the America they’re trying to make is nothing but ugly. https://t.co/9SiJE6A8H2
— ken olin (@kenolin1) August 2, 2021
Kevin McCarthy was not “joking” when he said it would be “hard not to hit” Nancy Pelosi. Authoritarian movements use violence, threats of violence and incitements to violence—as if we needed a reminder after 1/6.
— Duty To Warn 🔉 (@duty2warn) August 1, 2021
If Kevin McCarthy thinks ‘joking’ about hitting Nancy Pelosi is funny – it’s not.
— anyone_want_chips (@anyonewantchips) August 1, 2021
Kevin McCarthy threatened to physically assault Nancy Pelosi if he became Speaker, saying it would be hard not to hit her with the gavel.
He now says it was a joke. I'm sorry, but since when was encouraging violence against women used for shits and giggles? Disgusting.
— Kyla In The Burgh 🏳️🌈🏴☠️ (@KylaInTheBurgh) August 1, 2021
So what if you were joking, @GOPLeader?
It’s joking about violence versus women.
Go fuck yourself. pic.twitter.com/YGeqgQUWQN
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) August 1, 2021
McCarthy, so far, hasn’t addressed the matter further after the “joke” claim, but you never know if he’ll try to dig that hole even deeper.