House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyCheney reveals GOP's Banks claimed he was Jan. 6 panel's ranking member House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress GOP memo urges lawmakers to blame White House 'grinches' for Christmas delays MORE (R-Calif.) joked over the weekend that it would be hard for him not to hit Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: CDC signs off on 'mix and match' vaccine boosters Buttigieg aims to use Tucker Carlson flap to spotlight paternity leave Judge to hear Trump's case against Jan. 6 committee in November MORE (D-Calf.) with a gavel if the GOP wins control of the lower chamber in next year's midterm elections.
At a dinner on Saturday evening, members of Tennessee's Republican congressional delegation gave McCarthy an oversized gavel with the words "Fire Pelosi" on it.
"It will be hard not to hit her with it but I will bang it down," McCarthy reportedly joked, according to Washington Post reporter Michael Scherer.
Tenn. reps gave Kevin McCarthy an oversized gavel after speech.— michaelscherer (@michaelscherer) August 1, 2021
McCarthy invites the 1,400 at Nashville dinner to DC when he becomes speaker.
He says he wants everyone to see Pelosi hand him the gavel. "It will be hard not to hit her with it but I will bang it down,” he says.
Several Republican leaders from Tennessee, including Gov. Bill Lee and Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnSenator asks Facebook's Zuckerberg to testify at hearing on kids' safety TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat executives to testify at Senate hearing on kids' safety Buttigieg hits back after parental leave criticism: 'Really strange' MORE, were reportedly in attendance at the $250-a-plate dinner event.
A war of words between the two party leaders escalated last week when McCarthy joined other Republicans in vehemently protesting a mask mandate the Capitol physician reimposed and Pelosi supported.
"Make no mistake — The threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state," McCarthy tweeted on Tuesday night.
"He's such a moron," Pelosi responded when asked about McCarthy.
McCarthy and others in Republican leadership also expressed outrage when Pelosi weeks earlier rejected two GOP representatives from the House commission investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Democrats hold a slim majority in the House, and Republicans are looking to flip enough seats to give the GOP control of the lower chamber and make McCarthy Speaker.
McCarthy's joke was swiftly condemned by a number of House Democrats.
Violence against women is no laughing matter.— Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesDemocrats see light at end of tunnel on Biden agenda Sinema in Arizona as Democrats try to get spending-infrastructure deal LIVE COVERAGE: Biden tries to unify divided House MORE (@hakeemjeffries) 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 LieuTed W. LieuLet's build a superhighway in space Hillicon Valley — Presented by American Edge Project — Americans blame politicians, social media for spread of misinformation: poll Democrats urge federal agencies to address use of cryptocurrencies for ransomware payments MORE (@tedlieu) August 1, 2021
Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellWhich proposals will survive in the Democrats' spending plan? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Democrats see light at end of tunnel on Biden agenda MORE (@RepDebDingell) August 1, 2021
David CicillineDavid CicillineHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups Lawmakers question whether Amazon misled Congress Senators preview bill to stop tech giants from prioritizing their own products MORE (@davidcicilline) August 1, 2021