Rep. Eric Swalwell’s (D-Calif.) claws came out during a pair of tense confrontations with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) last month.
Swalwell and McCarthy’s dispute began with the House Republicans’ vote to censure Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on June 21 and reportedly ended with Swalwell calling McCarthy a “pussy” on the House floor a day later, according to The Daily Beast.
Swalwell told the outlet he would not discuss the story, but he did not deny the reports. McCarthy did not respond to the outlet’s requests.
HuffPost has reached out to both McCarthy and Swalwell’s offices for further comment.
The conflict started when Swalwell led Democrats in protest after Schiff’s censure, crying “shame” on Republicans after the censure vote.
While Swalwell stood near McCarthy’s podium, he allegedly told him, “This is pathetic. You’re weak. You’re a weak man.” (In C-SPAN footage from the session, you can briefly hear someone calling McCarthy weak, but it is unclear if the voice belonged to Swalwell.)
Two lawmakers who witnessed the spat told The Daily Beast that McCarthy ended the exchange with a cold, 10-second stare.
The next day, the California politicians continued to go at it, according to the lawmakers’ accounts.
During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the capital, witnesses say they saw McCarthy confront Swalwell while the Democrat was making his way to the bathroom.
One politician remembers McCarthy telling his rival, “If you ever say something like that to me again, I’m gonna kick the shit out of you.”
Swalwell was reportedly ready to take McCarthy up on his challenge, as another politician claims they heard him ask, “Are we really gonna do this?”
According to the sources, McCarthy bit back saying, “Call me a pussy again, and I’ll kick your ass.”
Both witnesses claim Swalwell responded with profane precision, telling McCarthy, “You. Are. A. Pussy.”
A brief stare-down ensued before McCarthy finally let Swalwell pass, according to onlookers.
This is far from the first time the California politicians have bucked heads.
McCarthy removed Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee after assuming the speakership in January 2023 amid accusations Swalwell had a relationship with a Chinese spy. (McCarthy also booted Schiff from the committee.)
In response, Swalwell criticized the Republican leader for “capitulat[ing] to the right wing of his caucus.”
Swalwell and McCarthy’s dust-up follows another alleged altercation between two other House members.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) reportedly called Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Co.) a “little bitch” after Boebert stole Greene’s plans to force a vote on impeaching President Joe Biden.