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McCarthy faces backlash over joke about hitting Pelosi with gavel

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 10:22 AM AKDT
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(CNN) – House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is feeling the heat over a comment he made about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Saturday night.

The California Republican was speaking at a fundraising event in Tennessee when he expressed optimism that the GOP would recapture the House in the 2022 midterm elections, and he would become its new speaker.

At the end of the speech, McCarthy was handed an oversized gavel symbolizing the one he would wield if he got the job.

“I’ll make this one promise here: When we win the majority, which I know we’re going to, you’re all invited,” he said. “I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel. It’ll be hard not to hit her with it, but I will bang it down.”

Pelosi’s spokesperson and deputy chief of staff condemned the comments, calling them “irresponsible and disgusting,” especially in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Other Democrats have also weighed in, with at least one, California Rep. Eric Swalwell, calling for the minority leader to resign.

A spokesperson for McCarthy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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