U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy accepts an oversized gavel with the words "fire Pelosi" from Tennessee's GOP delegation at the Republican Statesman's Dinner on July 31, 2021. 

U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy joked that it will be hard “not to hit” Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the speaker’s gavel if Republicans are able to win a majority in the House in 2022.

McCarthy made the quip after his keynote speech to a crowd of 1,400 at the Tennessee Republican Party’s annual Statesmen’s Dinner fundraiser on Saturday evening.

Audio of his comments can he heard here.

Members of Tennessee’s GOP congressional delegation presented McCarthy with an oversized gavel with the words “Fire Pelosi” emblazoned on it.

“I’ll make this one promise here -- when we win the majority, which I know we’re going to, you’re all invited,” McCarthy said, accepting the delegation’s gift.

“I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel,” he added, then joked, “it’ll be hard not to hit her with it, but I will bang it down.”

The joke came as the two are in a public feud over mask requirements on the Capitol campus. After new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week, Pelosi reinstituted mask mandates for House members, staff and visitors.

On Wednesday, Pelosi called McCarthy a “such a moron” after he publicly voiced opposition to the new mask requirements.

Saturday evening, McCarthy said the CDC has become “a political arm,” and criticized Pelosi’s policies as not founded in science.

“In the House, you’ve got to wear a mask, but you walk over to the Senate and somewhere in the rotunda, the science changes,” McCarthy said.

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