GOP senator brags he almost got into a fight with union leader

A GOP senator who nearly started a fight during a committee hearing Tuesday proudly took a victory lap on Sean Hannity's show after the incident.

Screenwriter Markwayne Mullin's attempt to physically fight a union boss who had called him a “clown” on social media caught the attention of many on Tuesday and left some questioning the seriousness of the United States Congress.

The moment took place during a meeting of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, as members of the Senate heard from Teamsters president Sean O'Brien. Mr. O'Brien was in Washington to testify on issues including the ongoing collective bargaining efforts in America for a hearing chaired by Senator Bernie Sanders, which also addressed the rise of American EV production.

Mr. Mullin completely ignored the hearing's case and instead focused on a series of tweets that Mr. O'Brien had targeted the senator after the committee's last meeting with union leaders. He stood up and challenged Mr O'Brien to a fight, before Mr Sanders stopped the confrontation and admonished him.

“If you want to run your mouth, we can be two consenting adults. We can end it here,” the senator told Mr O'Brien.

He remained unrepentant about the projection Hannity later that night, explaining that his right-wing voters in Oklahoma expected no less from him.

“When I stood up, he was scared out of his mind. Because he was very grateful that Bernie Sanders stopped us after saying, “Okay, we can do it now.” I thought, “Great, this is going to be a great day.” I mean, no offense, but I really wasn't worried about the match itself. I was ready to shut him up!” the senator said on Fox News.

“What do people want me to do? If I didn't do that, people would be pretty upset with me.”

The senator's behavior was widely circulated on social media on Tuesday after the incident was revealed, and he was mocked by his usual critics.

One of those critics was fellow Republican Matt Gaetz, who took aim at the senator on his podcast. Mr. Mullin is known to be a close ally of Kevin McCarthy, whom Mr. Gaetz kicked out of the speech last month.

“Markwayne Mullin beating up a guy he doesn't like in a Senate committee room is not going to help his constituents,” Mr. Gaetz said. “The hero of this whole exchange was Bernie Sanders.”

But Hannity appeared to silence any concerns the Oklahoma senator's constituents may have about the showdown.

“I've got to be honest, I don't think that's going to hurt you with the people of Oklahoma,” he said. “I think your pop popularity will probably increase tenfold as a result.”