On Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders chaired a Senate committee hearing titled “Standing Up Against Corporate Greed: How Unions are Improving the Lives of Working Families.” Labor representatives gave testimony, including Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien.
At the hearing, Republican Sen. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, a multimillionaire former business owner, tried to pick a fight with O’Brien. No, not a figurative fight—a literal fight. Instead of using the committee’s time to help improve workers’ lives, Mullin read tweets O’Brien wrote about the senator and then challenged the Teamsters president to fight him right there in the committee hearing room.
It was ridiculous. After Mullin stood up—yes, he stood up—Sanders told him, “Sit down! No, you’re a United States senator,” while O’Brien called Mullin a “clown” and wondered out loud if this was how the senator from Oklahoma dealt with every disagreement. During the exchange, the teamsters sitting behind O’Brien laughed at Mullin’s ludicrous bit of political theater.
The exchange went on with Mullin still trying to turn his time into a fight promo (you can watch at the link below), and O’Brien reminding Mullin that he had the opportunity to be one of the most “influential people in the country but you’re focused on debate that isn’t even relevant. You’re an embarrassment. An embarrassment.” The truth clearly continues to hurt Mullin.
The bad blood goes back to March, when the two men got into a heated argument during another Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing. O’Brien called out Mullin’s anti-labor “tough guy” schtick and the two exchanged barbs. Mullin came out looking pretty pathetic. O’Brien continued besmirching Mullin’s not-great name on social media, and in June, Mullin challenged O’Brien to a MMA-style fight for charity.
Mullin’s “self-made” business was originally his father’s, which he took over when his father got ill. Still, there are many questions about how he got so gosh-darned rich, as The New Republic reported earlier this year:
Mullin himself warrants his own level of scrutiny as to whether he is an “honest” millionaire. The Oklahoma Republican was already swimming in assets worth up to $29.9 million in 2020. The following year, his net worth exploded to be anywhere between $31.6 million and a gargantuan $75.6 million. Mullin received some $1.4 million in federal PPP loans and was among the members of Congress who helped tank the TRUTH Act, which would have required public disclosure of companies receiving those relief funds.
And there’s always a tweet with guys like this.
You can watch the rest of the exchange here, at around the 1:41:00 mark.
Just one word explains why Democrats had such a massive election night on Tuesday: abortion. On the newest episode of The Downballot, co-hosts David Nir and David Beard recap all the top races through the lens of reproductive rights, which continue to motivate Democrats and even win over a key swath of Republican voters. Nowhere was that more evident than in Ohio, which voted to enshrine the right to an abortion into the state constitution by a double-digit margin, despite countless GOP attempts to derail the effort.