Rep. Joe Cunningham cracks open beer during House speech

Rep. Joe Cunningham cracks open beer during House speech

December 17, 2020

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Maybe he was trying to make a point, or maybe he just really likes drinking on the job.

South Carolina Rep. Joe Cunningham cracked open a beer on the House floor Thursday in an unusual stunt to encourage bipartisanship after he trashed colleagues as shameless partisans and liars.

The 38-year-old Democrat smuggled the beer onto the House floor in his suit jacket’s pocket. In 2019, he was stopped from bringing a six-pack into the House for a similar speech.

The single-term congressman chastised his fellow politicians for being divisive before recommending bipartisan drinks.

“In my short tenure, I’ve been disappointed with a lot that I’ve encountered. I’ve seen members consistently put their party ahead of their own people, embracing conspiracy theories or arguments detached from reality, while knowing better and sometimes admitting so privately,” Cunningham said.

“I’ve seen members mock the president behind his back and praise him to his face, loathe him in private and worship him on television. I’ve seen them intentionally spread misinformation and lies, flirt with white supremacists and pander to the most extreme voices in our society.”

Cunningham said “people are more interested in protecting themselves and their party than protecting our country” and that “such reckless and selfish behavior has created a system where most politicians can’t lose, and most Americans can’t win.”

The lawyer from coastal South Carolina lost re-election in November to Republican Rep.-elect Nancy Mace. The label on his beer was not visible to C-SPAN viewers.

Before cracking open the drink Cunningham said, “My grandfather always told me that you can get through about any problem if you actually sit down with somebody and have a beer together.”

“For the betterment of this country, we have to come together,” he added.

“We have to sit down and listen to each other, and maybe even have a beer. In the spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation. I raise this glass to my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans.”

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