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Cawthorn vs McKinley: another intra-GOP row breaks out on the house floor

The exact allegation in the resulting new ethics complaint is unclear, and it is now up to the House Ethics Committee to decide whether or not to investigate the complaint. The Cawthorn-McKinley dusting, however, is just the latest evidence of strained relations in the House that have started to cause friction within the party as well as across the aisle, with a House Tory defying the Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Thursday on the chamber’s “bulls —” mask mandate.

Cawthorn and McKinley’s melee continued Thursday beyond the latter Republican’s office. At one point, the conflict turned into a shouting match on the House floor filled with affronts and suggestions of retaliation, according to four sources. One onlooker thought the two men’s ground altercation would turn into a brawl at some point; it ended Thursday with Cawthorn shooting McKinley as a career politician in an interview.

During the office confrontation, McKinley’s office apologized for the miscommunication and advised Cawthorn how to opt out of the bill in question, which they said would be a quicker fix, according to a source with a background. direct knowledge of the incident.

Cawthorn first said Thursday that he thought it was a problem for McKinley’s office, who made the mistake, but on Friday morning he managed to get himself removed.

Cawthorn’s office said the confusion stems from the legislature’s mistaken commitment to a drug pricing bill when it asked to co-sponsor separate legislation that would expand telehealth services for the treatment of drug-related disorders. substance use.

At one point in the office, Cawthorn asked the McKinley staff if his boss “was that guy with the mustache that nobody knows.”

Word of the hubbub swept the Hill – so fast that other Republicans in the House heard about it and asked why Cawthorn hadn’t just sent his staff to handle the situation instead.

They then secured a front row seat as the duo continued to fight on the house floor Thursday night, when Cawthorn approached McKinley and asked, “What’s your name?”

McKinley, according to a GOP source, replied, “You know very well who I am.”

McKinley pressured Cawthorn for attacking his staff, while Cawthorn pressured McKinley to remove his name from the bill in question. McKinley, Cawthorn claims, said he would not agree to do so.

It became a scream match, with McKinley repeatedly referring to Cawthorn as “junior.”

According to sources who later spoke about the fight, Cawthorn at one point asked McKinley how he would like him to sign the West Virginia lawmaker on pro-abortion or pro-herb legislation, comments some sources say say McKinley perceived to be a threat do so. . Cawthorn made a similar point while in McKinley’s office with his team, according to two sources.

Recalling that he criticized McKinley for supporting a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan.6 Capitol riot, Cawthorn suggested he could use another Republican vote against him during the election campaign.

I said, ‘Your district will remember that. And if you want to run for re-election and you’re going to sit here and attack me for all that stuff, I’m going to make sure they remember that, “” Cawthorn recalled later in an interview. . “And then he started to get angry of sorts.”

Cawthorn then sent letters Friday to McKinley and the staff member in question. According to a letter reviewed by POLITICO, Cawthorn wrote that he “does not wish any ill will between our offices” and that he hopes that they can put “our differences behind us” and “focus on our real adversaries”.

Cawthorn signed the letter: “Your ally.

Sarah Ferris and Rachael Bade contributed to this report.

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