While hosting a luncheon Thursday featuring dishes from her state, Senate Republican Joni Ernst of Iowa choked on some of the food, a spread of corn, rib-eye and pork chops.
But Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) came to the rescue, Senate colleagues said, moving swiftly to perform the Heimlich maneuver. Ernst later joked about the incident in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, thanking Paul.
“Can’t help but choke on the woke policies Dems are forcing down our throats,” Ernst wrote.
GOP senators have hosted lunches for each other for more than 60 years. On Thursday, Ernst, who is serving her second term, was hosting an “Iowa day,” said Sen. Cynthia M. Lummis (R-Wyo.).
“It was great that Rand was there,” Lummis said.
Yummm an Iowa chop from Sen Ernst & the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association for lunch pic.twitter.com/dGYFaegwN4
— Chuck Grassley (@ChuckGrassley) November 30, 2023
Though he said he did not see the incident, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) told The Post that Paul did a “good thing.”
“God bless Rand Paul,” Graham said. “I never thought I’d say that.”
Thursday’s incident isn’t the first time those who work in Congress have been credited with successfully using the lifesaving maneuver.
In September, Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) performed the Heimlich on a man who choked during a lunch event in Washington, KSBW reported. In June, Trevor Gurski, an intern for Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) used the maneuver after a child started choking during a tour of the Capitol, according to Spectrum News. After saving the child’s life, Gurski was later recognized by Garcia and then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who said the intern was “freaking amazing.”
In 2018, Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) saved his Democratic colleague Claire McCaskill from choking during a caucus luncheon.
McCaskill, a senator from Missouri, had a cracked rib after the incident but told The Washington Post through a spokesperson that she was “really grateful” to Manchin and that the injury was “no big deal.”
Liz Goodwin and David Weigel contributed to this report.