“Can’t help but choke on the woke policies Dems are forcing down our throats. Thanks, Dr. @RandPaul!” Ernst said in a post on X.
But it wasn’t woke policies she was choking on — it was food she had provided to the GOP conference as part of a tradition that a different senator each week brings food from their home state.
“It was Iowa day, lots of big pork chops and beef sandwiches,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., said after the lunch, noting he didn’t witness Paul performing the Heimlich.
Republicans who attended the lunch said they were thankful for the quick action by Paul, who has practiced medicine as an eye doctor.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who often spars with Paul on policy issues, said: “It’s a good thing he did. God bless Rand Paul. I never thought I’d say that.”
“It was great that Rand was there,” Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming said.
Lummis said that after the incident the two senators stood up and explained to colleagues what had just happened, and then discussed the importance of knowing what to do when someone is choking.
“We talked about how you can get Heimlich training here, and other people talked about incidents that they’ve been involved in where someone required the Heimlich,” Lummis said.
Ernst, 53, was seen walking away from the lunch after it concluded but wasn’t asked about the incident since at the time it had yet to be reported.
The second-term lawmaker is not the first senator to receive the Heimlich during a lunch with colleagues. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., broke Claire McCaskill’s rib while performing the Heimlich on the Missouri Democrat in 2018.