In The Know

Lawmakers gather for roasts, ribbing at annual dinner: ‘It only goes downhill from here, people!’

It was a bipartisan food fight of sorts, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle roasted and ribbed each other — and dropped at least one F-bomb — at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s annual Congressional Dinner.

“Did you watch [Kevin] McCarthy [(R-Calif.)] during the Speaker’s vote?” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) asked an audience filled with journalists and some of her colleagues in Congress.

“I haven’t seen someone assume that many positions to appease the crazy Republicans since Stormy Daniels,” Mace, the night’s GOP speaker at the annual roast-like gala, said to laughs.

“It only goes downhill from here, people!” Mace shouted as audience members buzzed and gasped.

“But let’s be honest, we all knew that [Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)] would never let the vote get to 18,” Mace continued.

“I know everyone thinks Republicans aren’t funny, but if you get a bunch of us together, we can be a real riot,” she said.

“I tried looking for Ilhan Omar too tonight, but it looks like she lost her seat,” Mace said of the Minnesota Democrat, who was booted off the House Foreign Affairs Committee by Republicans last week.

Omar then waved her hands from the audience at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in downtown Washington as Mace excitedly motioned back to her.

Embattled Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) — who is facing multiple investigations and has come under intense scrutiny amid revelations that he fabricated parts of his biography and questions about his finances — was a favorite target among Democrats and Republicans alike.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) noted in his remarks that he was the first Jewish majority leader in the Senate.

“But I’m not just Jew-ish,” Schumer said, in a reference to Santos’s disputed claims of Jewish ancestry. “I’m the real thing, baby!” Schumer exclaimed.

“Come on George, you’ve given Republicans a bad name,” Mace said of the Empire State’s congressman, “and that’s [Rep.] Lauren Boebert’s [(R-Colo.)] job.”

In a nod to both Santos and former President Trump, Mace said, “I mean, really, who lies about playing college volleyball? Who does that? If you’re gonna lie, at least make it about something big — like you actually won the 2020 election.”

Mace also aimed another punchline at fellow Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.).

“Georgia gave us both Raphael Warnock and Marjorie Taylor Green,” Mace said. “Some say that’s bipartisan. It’s not — it’s bipolar,” Mace said, as Greene, a guest at the dinner, looked on.

“Have y’all met [Rep.] Maxwell Frost [(D-Fla.)]? He’s 25 years old,” Mace said with a wide grin. “F— you, I have stretch marks your age!”

Sen. Raphael Warnock (Ga.), a Baptist pastor and the dinner’s featured Democratic speaker, delivered some profanity-free wisecracks during his dinner speech.

Doling out advice to the press about what to expect when attending a Black church, a straight-faced Warnock said, “Here’s something that’s very important to know: We don’t clap on the one and the three, we clap on the two and the four.”

“I’m not pointing anybody out, but somebody tell the president,” Warnock cracked.

“I know the spirit of this dinner is one of bipartisanship,” Warnock continued. “But while we’re on the subject of elections, let me just offer a word of advice to my colleagues who are up for reelection in 2024.”

“First, if possible, consider running against a running back,” Warnock said, in a reference to his 2022 opponent, former football player Herschel Walker (R).

“Or consider running against an out-of-touch millionaire,” Warnock added.

“Or consider running against an out-of-touch, multimillionaire running back,” he quipped.

“If you liked my remarks, my name is Raphael Warnock. If you didn’t, I’m Sen. Tim Scott,” Warnock said to laughs, name-checking the South Carolina Republican, who’s one of just three Black senators.

The Washington Press Club recognized Nick Grube of the Honolulu Civil Beat for his congressional reporting and honored Connie Chung with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

The legendary journalist came equipped with her own Santos-inspired joke at the 77th annual dinner.

After USA Today’s Susan Page, the soiree’s master of ceremonies, quipped that a “little-known fact” about Chung was that “her first husband was George Santos,” the former “CBS Evening News” anchor deadpanned, “We never consummated the marriage.”

Other lawmakers eyed at the event: House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.).

Updated at 7:30 a.m.

Tags Chuck Schumer Congressional Dinner George Santos Ilhan Omar Marjorie Taylor Greene Matt Gaetz Nancy Mace Raphael Warnock

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