The Republican leader made the comments after members of the Tennessee congressional delegation handed him an oversized hammer as he showed up at a fundraising event in the state. His comments are just the latest sign of deteriorating relations with the Democratic leader, who was not present at the event.
Pelosi’s spokesperson and deputy chief of staff quickly condemned the comments.
The comments also drew a reaction from a number of Congressional Democrats.
California Representative Eric Swalwell went further in calling for McCarthy’s resignation.
Pelosi and McCarthy recently engaged in a war of words amid the fallout from the House Select Committee’s investigation into the Jan.6 attack on the United States Capitol.
Pelosi rejected two of the five House Republicans McCarthy had selected for the panel, causing him to remove all of his choices from the panel. During a phone call informing him of the decision, voices were raised, a source familiar with the matter told CNN, and McCarthy protested, hinting that the decision could come back to haunt Pelosi.
“What you’re doing is unprecedented,” McCarthy told Pelosi, according to a second source close to the call.
Since then, Pelosi has called McCarthy a “jerk” in response to his criticism of reinstating the mask’s mandate in the House, and McCarthy continues to criticize Pelosi.
McCarthy questioned the science behind the speaker’s decision on masks when asked about his comment. “Well, if it’s that bright, I’d like to know where the science changes on Capitol Hill, between the House and the Senate,” he said, referring to the different rules regarding masks between the two chambers.
CNN Melanie Zanona and Manu Raju contributed to this report.