- The Handbasket
- Are Congressional Republicans OK?
Are Congressional Republicans OK?
Teamsters, kidneys and babies, oh my.
One could argue that after January 6, 2021, the halls of Congress would never be the same. With the insurrection, a piece of the institution died—and along with it went any modicum of faux-respect many congressional Republicans showed towards their workplace. If that awful day was the culmination of how Trump fundamentally changed voters, this past Tuesday was the culmination of how he’s fundamentally changed the way lawmakers comport themselves.
There have been plenty of examples of heinous behavior in the House and Senate—lest we forget Marjorie Taylor Green calling Lauren Boebert a “little bitch” on the House floor—but the total sum of Tuesday’s events made it feel like we are headed straight to hell…in a handbasket.
Let’s look back at Tuesday’s match-ups…
MMA Senator vs. Teamster President
Did you know there’s a senator from Oklahoma named Markwayne Mullin? No, not Mark space Wayne space Mullin. It’s simply one word: Markwayne. And while he has two first names, he has zero sense.
At a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing Tuesday meant to review how unions help working families, Markwayne got in a fight with the head of the country’s largest labor union. To be fair to Markwayne—we must be fair to Markwayne—he had pre-existing beef with Teamsters President Sean O’Brien. The embarrassing display was actually round two of a fight that began during a previous hearing back in March when Markwayne got pissy because he claimed O’Brien’s union was pressuring the employees of the very lucrative plumbing business he’d inherited from his father to unionize.
After that exchange, the Teamster President continued to publicly call out Markwayne on Twitter, and yes, challenged him to a fight. Markwayne, so hurt by the mean tweets, read them aloud at the hearing, which prompted his call to fisticuffs.
“This is the time, this is the place,” Markwayne said to O’Brien from his perch on the dais. “If you want to run your mouth, we can be two consenting adults. We can finish it here.” Making matters even funnier, the hearing was presided over by Bernie Sanders, the chairman of the committee. At one point Markwayne stood up to initiate physical confrontation and Sanders was forced to tell him "Sit down, you're a United States Senator.”
Some other cool facts about Markwayne: His name is Markwayne because he has uncles named Mark and Wayne, so his parents just shoved them together. He served as a congressman from 2013-2022, before being elected to the senate last November. He competed in mixed martial arts (MMA)—which is like wrestling but for people who killed bugs with a magnifying glass as children—for less than one year in the mid-aughts. In 2021, he had to clarify “I’m not Rambo” after he went on a rogue mission to attempt to get into Afghanistan during the US military pullout from the country. He claims tribal citizenship to the Cherokee Nation, and once referred to the Trail of Tears as “a volunteer walk.” And when Rep. Tom Cole, who also claims indigenous heritage, said to Markwayne upon his first day in Congress in 2013, “Congratulations, you just doubled the Native American Caucus,” Markwayne admitted he had no idea what Cole meant.
In a radio interview following Tuesday’s altercation, Markwayne told the host, “I’m not afraid of biting. I will bite.” When the host asked for clarification, Markwayne said, “I’ll bite 100%. In a fight, I’m gonna bite. I’ll do anything. I’m not above it. And I don’t care where I bite by the way.” The host, naturally, looked concerned.
Kevin McCarthy vs. Tim Burchett’s kidneys
The fact is that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has had a spectacularly shitty year. After an embarrassingly drawn out process in January to get elected speaker, he was unceremoniously fired from his prestigious position in early October. Perhaps even more mortifying is the fact that it was initiated by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-HELL), and carried out by a band of his fellow chaos agents—including Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee.
Kevin was still piping mad at Tim all these weeks later, and on Tuesday elbowed him in the back while he was in the middle of an interview with a reporter from NPR. Or, as Tim later called it, “a clean shot to the kidneys.”
"Why'd you elbow me in the back, Kevin?!” Tim bellowed down one of the house’s hallowed halls immediately following Kidneygate. “Hey Kevin, you got any guts?!" Then he scurried after him, and Kevin was like it wasn’t on purpose, and Tim was like yes it was, and truly there is no winner in the fight, but we are the losers for having people like this create our nation’s laws.
And just to tie this bouquet of trash together, the aforementioned Markwayne was a staunch McCarthy supporter during this fall’s speaker kerfuffle and said of his Republican colleague Matt Gaetz, “He’d brag about how he would crush ED [erectile dysfunction] medicine and chase it with an energy drink so he could go all night.”
George Santos vs. Our grip on reality
Remember last month when George was spotted running through the halls of Congress and screaming at activists while holding a baby, and when a reporter asked if the baby was his, he replied, “not yet”? Well, on Tuesday he was seen holding a baby once more. But this time, it was a different baby.
(In another beautiful bit of symmetry, George stole the original baby from Tim Burchett’s office.)
This time instead of screaming like a banshee in the hallway, George fed the baby a bottle on the House floor. And we later learned the baby was the grandson of 36-year-old Congresswomen Lauren Boebert, famous most recently for groping her date and vaping during a Denver production of Beetlejuice the musical. All this while the federal government careens toward another shutdown.
Republican: Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live with each other.