The U.S. Congress turned into a chaotic schoolyard on Tuesday as Republican lawmakers engaged in physical altercations, allegedly threatened a committee witness, and resorted to name-calling. This unprecedented level of immaturity and rancor, particularly among House Republicans, has left the Capitol in disarray and crippled its ability to function effectively.
After appointing a new House Speaker, Republicans wasted no time in launching censure and impeachment resolutions, sabotaging their own government funding bills, and, most recently, engaging in physical altercations. The conduct displayed by these lawmakers is so appalling that even Senator Elizabeth Warren likened their behavior to that of poorly behaved children.
One of the altercations occurred when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy allegedly elbowed Representative Tim Burchett in the lower back as they crossed paths. Burchett confirmed the incident, stating that he wouldn’t retaliate but warned that any fight would be short-lived. Although McCarthy denied the actions, both men asserted that they would emerge victorious if it came to a physical confrontation.
In another incident, Senator Markwayne Mullin nearly started a fistfight with labor union leader Sean O’Brien during a committee hearing. Mullin, an ex-MMA fighter, challenged O’Brien, who had mocked him on social media, to prove their manhood in a physical battle. The committee chair, Senator Bernie Sanders, had to intervene to prevent further escalation, expressing his disappointment and urging Mullin to behave appropriately.
Meanwhile, on the House side, Representative James Comer verbally attacked Representative Jared Moskowitz during a heated exchange about corruption allegations. Comer insulted Moskowitz, calling him “financially illiterate” and comparing his appearance to that of a Smurf.
With ongoing histrionics and a severe lack of productivity, it is no surprise that numerous House members have announced their decision not to seek re-election next year. Even Representative Pat Fallon considered leaving Congress for a lower position in the Texas Legislature due to the dysfunctional atmosphere in Washington.
In light of the chaos unfolding in Congress, Senator Josh Hawley proposed giving lawmakers a recess to cool off and reflect on their behavior. Perhaps it is time for a break, as Thanksgiving approaches.