REPUBLICAN Kevin McCarthy has been urged to resign after joking “it’d be hard not to hit Nancy Pelosi with a gavel” if he becomes speaker.
The House Minority Leader made the comments at a dinner with Tennessee’s Republican congressional delegation on Saturday.
He had been handed a gavel with the words “Fire Pelosi” on it.
McCarthy is reported to have said: “It will be hard not to hit her with it, but I will bang it down.”
That led to calls for his resignation on Sunday.
Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell tweeted: “America has suffered enough violence around politics.
“@GOPLeader McCarthy is now a would-be assailant of @SpeakerPelosi. He needs to resign.”
His colleague Ted Lieu added: “Dear @GOPLeader McCarthy: Don’t you think America has had enough political violence?
“You should never be encouraging or threatening or joking about causing violence to anyone, including the Speaker of the House.
“You need to apologize for your statement, or resign.”
McCarty’s office has said he was “obviously joking.”
But Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammill, said: “A threat of violence to someone who was a target of a #January6th assassination attempt from your fellow Trump supporters is irresponsible and disgusting.”
McCarthy and Pelosi have already been engaged in an ongoing war of words.
Pelosi was this week blasted for branding McCarthy a “moron” after he opposed a new mask mandate for vaccinated Americans.
The House Speaker said on Wednesday: “He’s such a moron.”
McCarthy had earlier called her a “lame duck” for rejecting his GOP picks for Capitol riot committee.