Adam Kinzinger, the former anti-Trump Republican congressman from Illinois, says that U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) "needs help."
Kinzinger said as much on Friday, during an appearance on CNN's The Lead.
The former congressman's remark - that McCarthy "needs help" - comes after an accusation that McCarthy elbowed one of his colleagues following his ouster from the House speaker position.
During his CNN appearance, host Jake Tapper asked Kinzinger:
You are a combat veteran. You served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and you have watched many politicians speak as if Congress itself were a battlefield. They want to score points for their side no matter the costs. This week a Republican lawmaker accused Kevin McCarthy of giving him a sucker elbow to his kidneys. In the book, you write about two physical altercations with McCarty. Tell us what happened.
Kinzinger proceeded to relate the two incidents. And, in doing so, Kinzinger claimed that he was the victim of two "shoulder-checks" from McCarthy.
I’m kind of standing in the back of the House, leaning over that gold railing, just kind of watching what’s going on, talking to people that walked by. And I get – wham! – I get shoulder-checked. Never had that happened on the floor of the House. And I turn, and Kevin McCarthy’s already passed me. And my initial reaction is that we’re friends, and I’m like, wait, we haven’t been friends in a year. That was serious.
Then, Kinzinger says that a similar incident occurred about three weeks later.
The former congressman told Tapper:
We were passing each other basically on the same walkway in the House, and he shoulder checks me again, like when are you in fourth grade? And, it was just like, what a child. And so the interesting thing is, what are the chances that I write about this in a book, it comes out, he does it to this guy from Tennessee, and then he’s saying like, "It was an accident." That’s never happened to me from anybody else.
Kinzinger then goes on to say that he hopes that McCarthy "gets help."
"Kevin McCarthy has compromised his values so much that he is lashing out at the people calling him out. Honestly, I hope he gets help. I think he needs to because his identity was wrapped up in being a speaker," Kinzinger said.
He added, "I was a threat to that on January 6 and others are there a threat to that now. They actually took it away. So he is an angry man. When you physically lash out, it goes to show something is broken."
This comes after U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) claimed that McCarthy gave him an elbow shot to the kidneys.
"He just elbowed me in the kidneys ... It was deliberate. It was just a cheap shot," Burchett said.
McCarthy claims that, if he did do anything like this, it was not intentional.