Sen. Rand Paul Saves Choking Colleague During GOP Senate Luncheon

Sen. Rand Paul Saves Choking Colleague During GOP Senate Luncheon
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) speaks during a hearing with the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 3, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker/Pool/Getty Images)
Ryan Morgan

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) successfully saved Senate colleague Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) on Thursday afternoon after she began choking on a piece of food.

Ms. Ernst was chowing down at a Republican Senate lunch on Thursday when part of her meal caught her off guard. Mr. Paul, who is a doctor, noticed his colleague choking and administered the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the piece of food and end her choking fit.

Ms. Ernst appeared to be okay following the scare, and played off the incident with a joke on social media later.

“Can’t help but choke on the woke policies Dems are forcing down our throats. Thanks, Dr. @RandPaul!,” she said in a post on the X social media platform later that afternoon.
Ms. Ernst may have actually been struggling to swallow down her own catering. Republican Senate lunches are hosted weekly by a select member, and Thursday was Ms. Ernst’s turn to select the catering. Fellow Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) posted about the meal shortly before the incident, noting she had catered Iowa Chops for the Senate lunch.

Mr. Paul’s quick thinking earned some rare praise from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who has butted heads on occasion with the Kentucky senator.

“God bless Rand Paul,” Mr. Graham told Washington Post congressional reporter Liz Goodwin, adding “I never thought I’d say that.”

Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) told CNN that after the choking incident, Mr. Paul and Ms. Ernst took the opportunity to address their colleagues about the warning signs that someone is choking, and reminded those colleagues that they can receive training to perform the Heimlich maneuver right there at the Capitol.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) wasn’t present when the choking situation began, but told CNN “We’ve had that happen one other time to one of our members. It’s kind of scary.”