Republican Rep. Tim Burchett says he ‘slept like a baby’ after voting to remove Kevin McCarthy as speaker – DAVID RAUDALES


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Republican Rep. Tim Burchett says he ‘slept like a baby’ after voting to remove Kevin McCarthy as speaker

Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee, left, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images; Elizabeth Frantz for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Rep. Tim Burchett on Wednesday criticized Kevin McCarthy after voting to oust him as speaker.Burchett told Showtime that McCarthy called him after the vote and made “very condescending” remarks.During an earlier CNN interview, Burchett said McCarthy made a remark that “belittled” him and his belief system.

After Rep. Kevin McCarthy was ousted as House speaker on Tuesday, all eyes were focused on the eight Republicans who joined with a united Democratic caucus to remove the California lawmaker from a position he had only held since January.

The Republicans who sided against McCarthy included a list of hardliners like Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Matt Rosendale of Montana who had long been critical of their onetime leader.

But there were some surprises on the list, like Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee, who had backed McCarthy for speaker earlier this year but didn’t feel as though he could support him again this week.

During an interview on Showtime’s “The Circus,” Burchett told co-host Jennifer Palmieri he was at peace with his decision after reflecting on the leadership dilemma through prayer.

“The leadership is probably thinking you’re not going to be a problem,” Palmieri told Burchett in an exchange on Wednesday, one day after the historic vote.

“Do I trust my conscience?” he replied. “And I prayed about it and honestly I slept like a baby last night.”

“Kevin McCarthy called me … and the first thing he said was something I thought was very condescending,” he continued.

When Palmieri asked Burchett what McCarthy told him over the phone, he said the now-ousted leader asked him something along the lines of whether or not his prayers had been answered.

“I said, ‘Well, you answered it right there,'” Burchett told McCarthy. “After I hung up with him, after it was kind of heated toward the end, I said, ‘Thank you lord, you gave me my answer.'”

“It maybe wasn’t the one I wanted, but it was the right answer,” he continued. “I don’t need a best friend in the Speaker’s office. I need somebody that values our oath and what we promise we say we’re going to do as much as I do.”

Reps. Burchett and McCarthy in happier times.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Burchett during a CNN interview on Tuesday told host Jake Tapper that McCarthy made a remark that he felt “belittled” him and his belief system.

“That pretty much sealed it with me right there. That showed the character of the man,” the congressman said.

When Tapper asked what McCarthy said to “mock” his faith, Burchett said it “really doesn’t matter,” but the congressman remarked on his earlier public statements that he had prayed on his decision on whether to back the motion to vacate the chair.

Burchett then spoke about how his family was one that prayed often, before pivoting back to McCarthy.

“When someone mocks me like that and mocks my religion, honestly, the Bible is pretty clear about God being mocked,” he said. “So that’s what sealed it right there for me. I said, ‘This is not the quality of character of a person that I want as Speaker of the United States.'”

Burchett last week voted against the continuing resolution which funded the government through mid-November, arguing that the bill was a continuation of lawmakers “playing games with Americans’ hard-earned money.”

“By law, we have one job and that is to pass 12 appropriations bills and a budget,” he said in a statement at the time. “We aren’t doing that, which is why we are $33 trillion in debt.”

McCarthy was able to shepherd the bill through the House due to the near-unanimous backing of Democrats, who supported the measure in greater numbers than Republicans. The then-speaker’s support for the “clean” continuing resolution — without the demands that hardliners had pushed for regarding spending and immigration policy — prompted Gaetz to file the motion to vacate that eventually cost McCarthy his speakership.

Insider reached out to McCarthy’s office for comment.

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