NPR reporter weighs in on McCarthy elbow accusation

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NPR reporter Claudia Grisales, who was interviewing Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) at the time he was allegedly elbowed by former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), spoke about her experience in an interview on CNN Tuesday.

“[U]ntil he was shoved, he lunged towards me, in that moment,” Grisales, who is NPR’s congressional correspondent, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. 

“I thought, maybe initially it was a joke, and I looked up, I saw it was McCarthy surrounded by his detail,” Grisales continued. “I could tell by Burchett’s response soon after, it was not a joke, at all.”

The incident happened as Republicans headed out of a conference meeting early Tuesday. Burchett stopped to talk to reporters in a Capitol hallway when the former House Speaker appeared to bump into him. Burchett said it was deliberate and that he then chased after the California Republican.

“I was like, ‘What the heck, you know, why did you do that?’” Burchett said.

McCarthy later denied elbowing his colleague, who was one of the eight Republicans to vote to remove McCarthy from the Speakership last month.

“I guess our elbows hit as I walked by,” McCarthy later told reporters, including CNN. “If I would hit somebody, they would I know hit them.”

The incident wasn’t the only tension-fueled moment on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) almost came to blows with a union leader in a Senate hearing and Rep. Jared Moskowitz (R-Fla.) and House Oversight Committee chair James Comer (R-Ky.) got into a heated spat in a hearing in the House.

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