Lawmaker held back by the mouth apologises to Matt Gaetz over House speaker row

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Republican lawmaker from Alabama Mike Rogers has publicly apologised to his colleague Matt Gaetz for confronting him during a heated discussion over the House speaker vote last week.

On Sunday, the Alabama Republican took to Twitter to explain that he “briefly lost [his] temper”.

“[Matt Gaetz] and I have a long and productive working relationship, that I am sure will continue. I regret that I briefly lost my temper on the House Floor Friday evening and appreciate Matt’s kind understanding,” he tweeted.

Mr Gaetz had earlier said the Alabama Republican had his “forgiveness”. He tweeted after the confrontation on Friday on the House floor, saying that he and Mr Rogers “have a six-year productive, working relationship. We’re going to work together wonderfully going forward”.

“I don’t think there should be any punishment or reprisal just because he had an animated moment. He has my forgiveness,” he added.

On Friday, Mr Rogers appeared to be moving towards the Florida Republican during a vote on the House floor and was restrained by other members.

North Carolina Republican Richard Hudson was seen grabbing Mr Rogers around the mouth after which Mr Rogers was seen walking out to the cloakroom to cool off.

The high-drama moment between Mr Rogers and Mr Gaetz took place after the House convened to hold its 14th vote for speaker at 10pm on Friday, with Kevin McCarthy confident that he had secured enough votes to get the job.

But in a dramatic twist, four House Republicans voted for alternative candidates while Mr Gaetz and his colleague from Colorado Lauren Boebert voted present.

After Mr McCarthy had a chat with Mr Gaetz, the Alabama Republican had walked at a brisk pace towards Mr Gatez while saying, “I won’t forget this!”

When tempers finally cooled, a motion to adjourn the House until Monday morning was put forward.

Meanwhile, on social media, the video of the confrontation between the two Congressmen went viral. Erik Wasson, a Bloomberg congressional reporter, described it as the “most extraordinary CSpan floor video I have ever seen”.