House Democrats urged Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to apologize to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) after joking that it would be “hard not to hit” her with a gavel if Republicans take back the House in midterm elections next year, during a speech on Saturday night.
Main Street-Nashville was the first to report on McCarthy’s remarks.
During the Tennessee Republican Party’s annual Statesman’s Dinner fundraiser on Saturday evening, members of Tennessee’s Republican congressional delegation handed McCarthy an oversized gavel with the words “Fire Pelosi” emblazoned on it.
After accepting the delegation’s gift, McCarthy issued a quip about Pelosi by joking that it would be “hard not to hit her” with the gavel if he becomes House speaker.
“I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel, it’ll be hard not to hit her with it, but I will bang it down,” McCarthy said.
— Vivian Jones (@Vivian_E_Jones) August 1, 2021
Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, told CNN in that McCarthy’s remarks are “irresponsible and disgusting.”
“A threat of violence to someone who was a target of a #January6th assassination attempt from your fellow Trump supporters is irresponsible and disgusting,” Hammill told CNN.
Later Sunday, a spokesperson for McCarthy told MSNBC that the House minority leader was “obviously joking” when he issued his ominous joke aimed at Pelosi.
House Democrats swiftly condemned McCarthy’s remarks and demanded that the minority leader apologize to Pelosi.
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
— Rep. Debbie Dingell (@RepDebDingell) August 1, 2021
— David Cicilline (@davidcicilline) August 1, 2021
Violence against women is no laughing matter.
— Hakeem Jeffries (@hakeemjeffries) August 1, 2021
McCarthy’s joke that invoked violence against Pelosi comes on the heels of the House leaders publicly throwing jabs at each other in recent weeks.
After McCarthy and other Republicans protested a mask mandate that the Capitol physician reinstated, which Pelosi expressed support for, the House speaker said that the minority leader is “such a moron” during a press conference.
McCarthy also panned Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) — both of whom voted for former President Trump’s impeachment for “incitement of insurrection” — for accepting Pelosi’s offer to join the select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6.
McCarthy accused Cheney and Kinzinger of being “Pelosi Republicans” for joining the committee, and told reporters that Pelosi’s decision to reject two of his picks for the panel “just makes the whole committee a sham.”
McCarthy’s “Pelosi Republicans” jab was made after he withdrew all five of his appointees to the select committee in response to Pelosi yanking two of his picks. The House minority leader painted Pelosi’s move as a partisan effort that hurts the former president and the GOP ahead of next year’s midterms.