Democrats are calling on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-California) to apologize to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after audio revealed McCarthy said it would be “hard not to hit her” with a gavel if he becomes the new House Speaker after the 2022 midterm elections, which experts say he is favored to do.

“Threatening violence against the Speaker of the House is no joke,” Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York). “This is the kind of reckless language that led to a violent insurrection.”

This news comes after months of tension between the two leaders following the Jan. 6 insurrection, during which Pelosi was hunted by the mob. Rioters broke into her office, stole her belongings and called out for her by name.

Though McCarthy initially condemned former President Donald Trump for his involvement in inciting the riots, he has since mended fences with Trump and attempted to blame Pelosi for a delay in call for more assistance on Jan. 6.

The insurrection is not the only thing causing a rift between the two leaders – McCarthy recently blamed Pelosi for reinstating a mask mandate in the House.

McCarthy called the mandate “a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state.”

Pelosi responded by calling McCarthy a “moron.”

When asked about this comment, Pelosi replied: “To say that wearing a mask is not based on science, I think is not wise, but that’s all I am going to say about that.”

Last week, McCarthy was gifted a gavel inscribed with the phrase “fire Pelosi” at a Tennessee Republican Party Fundraiser. McCarthy told the crowd that if he wins the speakership “it’ll be hard not to hit her with it, but I will bang it down.”

McCarthy’s office claims that “he was joking.”

But Democrats are taking his remarks very seriously.

Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pennsylvania) tweeted: “There’s nothing funny about hitting Speaker Pelosi or any woman. [He] continues to reminds us that nothing will get in the way of his ambitions—including joking about hitting a woman to excite his small base.”

“I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again—he should RESIGN!!” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts) tweeted.

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