Lawmakers trade barbs, torch Trump at DC soiree
Lawmakers — including Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) — traded zingers and one-liners as they honored journalists at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s annual Congressional Dinner.
Pelosi kicked off the 74th annual dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington on Tuesday with some wisecracks directed at President Trump.
“Donald Trump is actually a teetotaler, he doesn’t drink,” Pelosi said of the commander-in-chief.
“Which is funny, because he sure seems to like his White Russians,” the House minority leader quipped.
The lawmaker took another shot at Vice President Pence.
Mentioning her upcoming appearance on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Pelosi cracked, “Do you think Mike Pence is allowed to dine alone with a man in drag?” The quip was a reference to an interview Pence once did with The Hill in which he said he never goes out to eat with women by himself.
Scalise took his own swipe at Pelosi, motioning to her and saying, “Nancy, it’s always great to break bread with you. I promise next time not to leave so many crumbs.”
The joke was a reference to a comment made by Pelosi in January, in which she said employee bonuses resulting from the GOP tax cut amounted to “crumbs.”
Ros-Lehtinen, who announced her retirement from Congress last year, also took some jabs at Pelosi during the roast-like ceremony.
“Let’s be serious — it’s tough to win legislation in Congress. Many times, the process is as frozen as Nancy Pelosi’s face,” Ros-Lehtinen said, just inches from the California congresswoman.
“I’m kidding,” Ros-Lehtinen added with a grin, “but sometimes her happy and her angry face, they’re pretty similar!”
Ros-Lehtinen said she started the trend of GOP lawmakers retiring from office, exclaiming, “Republicans haven’t deserted something this fast since Jeb [Bush] ran for president!”
Coons made a return trip to the Congressional Dinner stage, having previously delivered remarks at the 2011 bash.
Speaking after Ros-Lehtinen, Coons said, “When you were 7 years old, Ileana, you fled Cuba to escape the regime of a narcissistic, deluded, megalomaniac — and today … you know, life is funny like that.”
Coons also aimed his biting comedy Trump’s way, telling the crowd, “I think President Trump might come around on a few of his major decisions.”
“Once the rising seas hit Mar-a-Lago, we might get back into the Paris Agreement,” said Coons. “And once Don Jr. tells him just how bad prison is, we might finally see criminal justice reform.”
Buffalo News Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski was honored for his reporting and ABC’s Robin Sproul was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the soiree, which was emceed by CNN’s Dana Bash. The Hill hosted a post-dinner reception following the event.
Among the lawmakers eyed there: Reps. David Young (R-Iowa), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.),, Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), Al Lawson (D-Fla.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.); Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.); Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) smiling during an animated chat with Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas); Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) talking with Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.).