Numerous Democrats are calling on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to resign after he reportedly joked about hitting Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a gavel, the Washington Examiner has reported.
The incident occurred when members of the GOP Tennessee delegation gave McCarthy a large gavel during a dinner event over the weekend which had had the words “Fire Pelosi” written on it.
In accepting the gift, the minority leader reportedly invited the 1,400 people at the dinner to the Capitol when he becomes speaker after midterm elections so they can all see Pelosi hand him the gavel. “It will be hard not to hit her with it, but I will bang it down,” according to a tweet by a journalist from The Washington Post.
“Don’t you think America has had enough political violence?” Democrat California Rep. Ted Lieu responded on Twitter. “You should never be encouraging or threatening or joking about causing violence to anyone, including the Speaker of the House,” adding that “You need to apologize for your statement, or resign.”
In her criticism, Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell tweeted that “Language like this led to violence and death at the United States Capitol. @GOPLeader knows his words carry weight.”
A spokesman for McCarthy said in response that the minority leader was “obviously joking,” NBC News reported.
The remarks came as McCarthy and Pelosi have been arguing recently over several issues, including appointments to the select House committee probing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, as well as the reinstatement of a mask mandate in the House after new guidelines were issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to the spread of the coronavirus variant.