by Jeff Poor
Even though U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-55) would win the House Speaker’s race, it may have been overshadowed by an incident moments earlier on the U.S. House of Representatives floor involving U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers (R-AL-03) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL-01). Throughout the week, Gaetz had been the figurehead for the opposition to McCarthy’s bid, which kept McCarthy from reaching the required majority to earn the role.
Rogers had emerged as one of McCarthy’s most staunch allies in the ordeal by taking an aggressive tack against the 20-something holdouts led by Gaetz. At one point, Rogers called for stripping the holdouts of their committee assignments, which drew the ire of U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21).
For Rogers, Gaetz’s decision to vote “present” instead of for McCarthy in the 14th vote of the Speaker elections was a breaking point late Friday. Video footage showed the long-time Alabama congressman approaching Gaetz but only to be restrained by his colleague U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC-09).
Although the incident continues to generate a lot of buzz, one of Rogers’ colleagues was apparently very upset about the incident.
U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN-02), who was in the middle of the fray Friday, had some very pointed remarks for Rogers, according to CNN’s Kate Sullivan.
“People shouldn’t be drinking, especially when you’re a redneck, on the House floor,” Burchett said, according to Sullivan’s social media. “I would drop him like a bag of dirt. Nobody’s gonna put their hands on me. Nobody’s gonna threaten me.”
“It’s just one of those things — you’ve been around fights before, you’ve seen it. Some guy gets in your face and then it’s just an unfortunate moment is all it was. It shouldn’t have happened. He shouldn’t have crossed that line,” Burchett added, according to Sullivan’s account.
In the 12 hours following the dust-up, Rogers offered no public comment other than a tweet congratulating McCarthy and a brief statement.
“I am excited to see Kevin McCarthy elected Speaker of the House,” Rogers’ statement said. “Now it is time for the House to do the work the American people sent us here to do.”
Following the election’s completion, McCarthy downplayed the incident in comments to reporters.
“Oh, nothing,” he said. “I mean, we ended up with a tie, and [Gaetz] was able to get the others to be able to go present.”
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a Gaetz ally, called Rogers’ actions “completely out of line.”
Although Gaetz has been posting to his social media, he has not addressed the incident directly since the kerfuffle.
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Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of “The Jeff Poor Show,” heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile’s FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
Photo “Tim Burchett and Mike Rogers” by C-SPAN.