Kevin McCarthy and Eric Swalwell’s heated exchange on House floor revealed

The beef between the House speaker and the California Democrat was reported by two lawmakers who witnessed the interaction

Kelly Rissman
Friday 28 July 2023 12:36 EDT
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New details reveal that California Rep Eric Swalwell did not hold back when criticising Speaker Kevin McCarthy last month, reportedly calling him a “p****” on the House floor.

According to The Daily Beast, the heated exchange stemmed from the events of 21 June, when Republicans voted to censure California Democratic Rep Adam Schiff.

As Democrats chanted “Shame!” at their colleagues across the aisle, Mr Swalwell, standing near the speaker’s podium, had something to say to one Republican in particular – Mr McCarthy.

“This is pathetic,” Mr Swalwell allegedly said to the House speaker, according to two members of Congress who spoke to the outlet. “You’re weak. You’re a weak man.”

Mr McCarthy looked like “he had a vein popping out of his forehead,” one lawmaker told the outlet. Another said the House speaker stared down Mr Swalwell for roughly 10 seconds before deciding to walk away.

The next day, the beef between the two lawmakers intensified. Just before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a joint address to Congress, Mr Swalwell was right outside the chamber on the Republican side when Mr McCarthy reportedly spotted him.

“McCarthy said, ‘If you ever say something like that to me again, I’m gonna kick the s*** out of you,’” one member told The Daily Beast.

Another lawmaker expanded on this, recalling: “They were in each other’s faces. Basically nose-to-nose. And Rep Swalwell said something like, ‘Are we really gonna do this?’”

The House speaker then allegedly threatened the California Democrat: “Call me a p**** again, and I’ll kick your a**.”

Both lawmakers speaking to the outlet apparently recalled the next words from Mr Swalwell identically: “You. Are. A. P****.”

But Mr McCarthy did not fulfill his promise, and instead the two congressmen stared each other down before McCarthy stepped to the side.

The Independent has reached out to the offices of Speaker McCarthy and Mr Swalwell for comment.

The bad blood between the Californians has been spilled before; back in January, shortly after McCarthy became speaker, he booted Mr Swalwell – as well as Mr Schiff – from the House Intelligence Committee.

This also isn’t the first documented instance of name-calling in the recent past among Congress members. Georgia Republican Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene called Colorado Republican Rep Lauren Boebert a “little b****” last month on the House floor.

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