Senate Hearing Turns Into Clown Show as Union Boss Freaks at GOP Sen. - Even Bernie Sanders Gets Involved


A hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions devolved into an exchange of personal attacks on Wednesday.

Republican Sen. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma had a heated confrontation with Teamsters President Sean O’Brien, who was testifying as the leader of the union organization.

Mullin, who owns a plumbing business among other interests, according to his Senate web page, questioned O’Brien’s salary. He was met with sharp language on the part of the union official.

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The union official even told Mullin that he was “out of line,” a remark that spurred Mullin to demand O’Brien’s silence.

“Shut your mouth,” he said.

“Tough guy,” O’Brien responded.

“You’re going to tell me to shut my mouth? Tough guy. ‘I’m not afraid of physical’…,” O’Brien said, mocking some of Mullin’s earlier comments.

According to Fox News, Mullin had said he’s “not afraid of physical confrontation” with union workers he said were attempting to intimidate his employees.

At one point, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who chairs the committee, intervened to calm things down.

Sanders cut off Mullin as the dispute escalated, chastising the Republican and urging a return to normal procedures of testimony.

Mullin claimed his inquiry into O’Brien’s salary was merely rhetorical, whereas Sanders sought to allow O’Brien to answer the question in his own words.

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The Oklahoma senator had earlier criticized O’Brien’s opposition to right-to-work laws, state statutes that prohibit mandatory employee contributions to union organizations.

Longstanding congressional decorum obligates witnesses to treat senators and representatives with deference.

It’s generally unusual for witnesses to openly spar with members of Congress, although it’s not unprecedented.

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