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Sen. Rand Paul saves choking GOP senator

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks at the CATO Institute in Washington, D.C., on July 27, 2017. (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/TNS)
December 02, 2023

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who is a doctor, performed the Heimlich maneuver Thursday on Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) during a Senate lunch as the GOP senator was reportedly choking on food.

In a Thursday post on X, formerly Twitter, Burgess Everett, POLITICO’s congressional bureau chief, wrote, “Whoa: Rand Paul used the Heimlich maneuver on Joni Ernst at Senate lunch today, she was choking on some food, per attendees. She’s OK, senators say.”

Sharing Everett’s post on her X page, Ernst later joked, “Can’t help but choke on the woke policies Dems are forcing down our throats. Thanks, Dr. @RandPaul!” 

According to CNN, one of Ernst’s aides confirmed that the Iowa senator was doing alright after the incident.

CNN reported that Ernst was responsible for hosting Thursday’s Senate luncheon, which is hosted each week by a member of the Senate and often features food from the home state of whichever senator is hosting the meal.

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Prior to the meal, Ernst was pictured with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) with some of the food that was featured at the luncheon, which included pork chops and ribeyes.

Grassley tweeted pictures from Thursday’s lunch alongside the caption, “Yummm an Iowa chop from Sen Ernst & the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association for lunch.”

According to CNN, Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) noted that after Paul performed the Heimlich removal during Ernst’s choking incident, both Paul and Ernst addressed the incident, prompting a discussion regarding how to notice the signs of a person choking and how senators can be trained to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

In a statement obtained by CNN, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said, “I didn’t actually see it. We’ve had that happen one other time to one of our members. It’s kind of scary.”

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), who was not at Thursday’s lunch when the choking incident occurred, told a Washington Post reporter, “God bless Rand Paul. I never thought I would say that.”