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Rand Paul successfully used the Heimlich maneuver on Joni Ernst at a GOP lunch

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., performed the Heimlich maneuver on Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa as she was choking Thursday during a closed-door GOP lunch. Here, Paul and Ernst look over a folder provided to them by the White House, during a luncheon in 2017 in the State Dinning Room of the White House.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais
/
AP
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., performed the Heimlich maneuver on Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa as she was choking Thursday during a closed-door GOP lunch. Here, Paul and Ernst look over a folder provided to them by the White House, during a luncheon in 2017 in the State Dinning Room of the White House.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver on fellow Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa as she choked at a Senate luncheon Thursday.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Ernst confirmed the incident, as she thanked Paul for his actions, while also taking a jab at Democrats.

"Can't help but choke on the woke policies Dems are forcing down our throats," Ernst said on X, quoting an earlier post from a reporter about the incident.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters he appreciated Paul's life-saving actions.

"God bless Rand Paul," the Republican said, according to a Washington Post reporter's post on X. "I never thought I'd say that."

Ernst, who has served in the Senate since 2015, was hosting the closed-door luncheon. A different senator hosts the Thursday Senate Republican lunch each week, showcasing food from their home state.

Those who attended this week's luncheon were served pork chops and ribeye steak, as Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa posted a picture of the meal to X.

"Yummm an Iowa chop from Sen Ernst & the Iowa Cattlemen's Association for lunch," Grassley said.

Paul is a medical doctor, whose focus is ophthalmology.

The 60-year-old senator graduated from Duke Medical School in 1988 and later started an ophthalmology practice in Bowling Green, Ky., in 1993, according to his website. He also founded the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic, an organization that provides eye exams and surgery to low-income families and individuals.

Ernst was not the first senator to have needed the Heimlich at a Capitol Hill luncheon.

In 2018, Democrat Claire McCaskill of Missouri choked at a Senate lunch, leading Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to perform the Heimlich on her.

Manchin broke one of McCaskill's ribs in the process.

"She could have choked to death," Manchin told CNN at the time. "And you know Claire, she's tougher than nails."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jonathan Franklin
Jonathan Franklin is a digital reporter on the News desk covering general assignment and breaking national news.
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