Lawmakers on hot mic joke ‘aisle hog’ Engel absent from Biden address: ‘He’d wait all day’
Two lawmakers at President Biden’s first joint address to Congress were caught on hot mic humorously recalling former Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel (N.Y.) who was well-known for arriving extremely early to state addresses, earning the title “aisle hog” from the media.
It was unclear which lawmakers were speaking, but one could be heard saying, “I wonder if Elliot Engel is upset. He’d wait all day!”
During his time as a congressman, Engel was known for arriving early to State of the Union addresses in order to get a good seat as well as to be able to greet the president. Engel served in the House from 1989 to 2021.
“Elliot’s my best buddy,” one lawmaker could be heard saying.
“All those years. All day long,” another commented.
The two lawmakers could also be heard discussing Engel’s recent loss, at one point breaking into laughter as they continued to recall the lawmaker’s hyper-punctuality.
hot mic moment about eliot engel’s hot mic moment pic.twitter.com/CCkg17IvAN
— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) April 29, 2021
As USA Today reported, Engel first began the practice when the late Democratic Sonny Montgomery (Miss.) invited him to sit together in 1989 so they could shake former President George H.W. Bush’s hand.
Live mic picks up someone talking about former Rep. Eliot Engel, who was always present early for state of the union speeches and other addresses to a joint session.
— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) April 29, 2021
Engel lost his seat to Rep. Jamaal Bowman during in the 2020 Democratic primaries, with Bowman going on to win the general election. The former congressman himself was caught last year on hot mic making offhand remarks while campaigning for reelection.
While appearing at a news conference last June, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. was heard on the mic thanking Engel for making an appearance.
“If I didn’t have a primary, I wouldn’t care,” Engel was heard saying.
“Don’t do that to me,” Diaz responded. “We’re not gonna do this. We’re not politicizing. Everybody’s got a primary, you know. I’m sorry.”