1. Markwayne Mullin
Fightin’ words, and lots of ’em. But no fighting. (Yet.)
Oklahoma Sen. Markwayne Mullin, who is in fact named that because his parents couldn’t decide between Mark and Wayne, used to own a sizable plumbing business. In March, at a hearing of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, he and Teamsters union president Sean O’Brien—a well-built bald man with a thick, Teamsters-like Boston accent—got into a back-and-forth over whether Mullin had, as a plumbing CEO, ripped off his employees and used accounting tricks to understate his own income. Some time afterward, O’Brien sent a tweet mockingly referring to the senator as “cowboy” and inviting him to meet him “anytime” and “anyplace” for, presumably, fisticuffs. On Tuesday, O’Brien was back at HELP to testify again, and Mullin opened his remarks by challenging O’Brien to fight in the committee room. Truly: While taking off his wedding ring, Mullin said, quote, “You want to run your mouth? We can be two consenting adults. We can finish it here,” before telling O’Brien: “Stand your butt up.” O’Brien indicated a willingness to engage, telling Mullin to stand his butt up, but Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the committee chair, intervened before any punches, kicks, or chokeholds were thrown, kicked, or held. And then—hey, credit to everyone involved for doing their job!—they went ahead and held the rest of the hearing. Mullin later said that while he understands that he is a member of a chamber that follows certain rules of decorum, O’Brien had insulted him grievously and he is “still a guy.” Just to be safe, the Surge does not plan to mess with Oklahoma or the Teamsters going forward.