It was the latest round of a nasty feud between Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Pelosi, the House’s top Democrat.
Last week, Pelosi called her Republican counterpart an “idiot” for opposing masks mandates to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, as the Delta variant causes an increase in cases in the United States.
At a fundraising dinner Saturday night in Tennessee, McCarthy spoke optimistically about the prospects for his party to retake the House in the midterm elections next year.
And he went on to joke that if he became a speaker, he would have a hard time resisting hitting Pelosi with the mallet that comes with the job.
“It’ll be hard not to hit her with that, but I’ll take it down,” McCarthy said, according to a Washington Post reporter who was at the event.
Democrats pounced on McCarthy Sunday.
“Don’t you think America has had enough political violence?” California Rep. Ted Lieu tweeted.
“You must apologize for your statement or resign,” Lieu wrote.
California Rep. Eric Swalwell said McCarthy “needs to resign” and tweeted: “America has suffered enough violence around politics.”
Michigan Representative Debbie Dingell insisted that McCarthy immediately apologize.
“Language like this led to violence and death on the United States Capitol. @GOPLeader knows his words carry weight,” Dingell said.
He appeared to be referring to then-President Donald Trump’s fierce language in a January 6 speech to a crowd that invaded the United States Capitol as Congress certified Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
Pelosi was a main target of the mob that swept through the Capitol, in an insurrection that left five dead.