Senator’s dog Rufus steals spotlight during Senate health hearing
Sen. Lamar Alexander’s (R-Tenn.) dog Rufus nearly stole the show from top health officials on Tuesday.
Alexander, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, led a hearing Tuesday that heard testimony from officials leading the U.S. coronavirus response, including National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield.
But sleeping behind the chairman through much of the hearing was Rufus, whose furry, zen-like state attracted a lot of attention from viewers, most of whom are also in their homes.
While pets appearing in video calls have become a regular event among people working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s still rare for one to appear in a Senate hearing livestream. The hearing took place partly in the committee room and partly virtually, with some participants in self-quarantine or working remotely due to social distancing requirements.
It seems Rufus is a pro at video chatting, though — it’s not his first time making a high-profile cameo from Alexander’s study. The pup appeared in nearly the exact same sleeping pose behind Alexander on Sunday during the senator’s appearance on “Meet the Press.”
Rufus is not impressed at being included in video appearances, according to Alexander.
Rufus wasn’t impressed when I told him we were gonna be on national TV.
— Sen. Lamar Alexander (@SenAlexander) May 10, 2020
Rufus was also blamed for some barking heard during parts of Tuesday’s event.
Rufus did lift his head during remarks by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) but remained asleep for most of the hearing, prompting jokes about his peaceful repose online.
Lamar Alexander’s dog is all of us
— Evan Siegfried (@evansiegfried) May 12, 2020
Lamar Alexander’s dog for president
— John Hausman (@JohnSHausman) May 12, 2020
Looks like Lamar Alexander’s dog has not been able to stay awake through the whole Senate hearing. pic.twitter.com/xNHk7Na4Ao
— Anthony Zurcher (@awzurcher) May 12, 2020
Lamar Alexander’s sleeping dog in his video feed is the best thing I’ve seen today. This week. maybe this month.
— Kaitlyn Folmer (@KaitlynFolmer) May 12, 2020
The star of today’s Senate hearing is Dr. Fauci, but Sen. Lamar Alexander’s dog is a close second. pic.twitter.com/bWW91rRTB5
— The Recount (@therecount) May 12, 2020
Sen Lamar Alexander’s dog still conked out as the Coronavirus hearing comes to a close. pic.twitter.com/ircKBU5y9i
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) May 12, 2020