House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is facing calls to resign after he reportedly joked about hitting Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., with a giant gavel he was gifted at a dinner in Nashville Saturday evening.
According to reports, McCarthy was given an oversized gavel emblazoned with the words, “Fire Pelosi,” by members of Tennessee’s Republican congressional delegation during a dinner that also included speakers Gov. Bill Lee, and Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty.
McCarthy spoke optimistically about Republicans retaking the House in 2022 and him becoming speaker, and he asked the GOP donors in attendance to join him in Washington so they could watch Pelosi hand him the gavel, The Washington Post’s Michael Scherer reported on Twitter.
“It will be hard not to hit her with it but I will bang it down,” McCarthy reportedly said.
Democrats cried foul over the reported joke, with some even calling for McCarthy’s resignation.
Rep. Eric Swalwell called the Republican a “would-be assailant” of the speaker.
“America has suffered enough violence around politics,” the congressman tweeted. “@GOPLeader McCarthy is now a would-be assailant of @SpeakerPelosi. He needs to resign.”
“Dear @GOPLeader McCarthy,” tweeted Rep. Ted Lieu. “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.”
“Who else thinks Kevin McCarthy must resign for ‘joking’ about assaulting Speaker Pelosi?” tweeted Democratic Coalition co-founder Scott Dworkin.
McCarthy did not publicly respond to the backlash.
The reported remark comes after Pelosi called the minority leader “such a moron” last week for opposing the renewed mask mandate in the House.