Politics

How John Kennedy Sees Things

‘This is why the aliens won’t talk to us.’

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., speaks with reporters in the Senate subway in the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Since arriving in the Senate last year, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy has become a gift to Capitol Hill reporters for his colorful use of language.

Most recently, he has said that the dispute about whether President Donald Trump called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries” is “why the aliens won’t talk to us.”

“They look at all of this stuff, and they go, ‘These people . . . they’re 13-year-olds,” the Weekly Standard reported.

Here are some more times Kennedy described things as he saw them. 

“Fighting in the back of a minivan”

Earlier this week in an interview with a WDSU reporter, Kennedy made summed up Shitholegate:

“Sen. [Dick] Durbin says he did say it. Some of the folks who say he didn’t say it are calling Sen. Durbin a liar,” he said. “Others are calling President Trump a liar.

Kennedy, who uses his down time in the summer to work as a substitute teacher, said the conflict was juvenile.

“It’s starting to look like a bunch in the back of a minivan,” he said. “Or at least a junior high school cafeteria.”

“Ignorant slut”

In October, Trump visited Capitol Hill to talk with Senate Republicans. At the time, Trump was feuding with Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker

After the meeting, though, Kennedy told reporters the meeting went well and “nobody called anyone an ignorant slut or anything,” a reference to an old "Saturday Night Live" skit.

“Tough as a boiled owl”

In July, when Sen. John McCain had emergency surgery to address a blood clot, which eventually led to his cancer diagnosis, Kennedy had a soaring, albeit odd, compliment for McCain.

Kennedy’s compliment he told reporters that McCain was “tough as a boiled owl” might have been an allusion to the fact the Arizona Republican  survived skin cancer and being a prisoner of war in Vietnam.  

“Rather drink weedkiller” 

Kennedy's penchant for colloquialisms did not begin when he joined the Senate.

While running for his seat in 2016, Kennedy, then state treasurer, was blunt in his disapproval of the 2010 health care law.

“Obamacare sucks, it can’t be fixed,” he said in August of that year. But Kennedy went further in his assessment of the law.

“I would rather drink weedkiller than support Obamacare,” he said. The line was so popular that Kennedy used it in one of his ads.

In that same ad, Kennedy said members of Congress and then-President Barack Obama should “put a bag over their head” for not helping workers’ wages rise.

Schools and “overpriced mayonnaise”

During a June hearing for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Kennedy complained that children should have the same kinds of choices for schools as they do for condiments.

“Now I can go down to my overpriced Capitol Hill grocery this afternoon and choose among about six different types of mayonnaise,” Kennedy said, according to USA Today. 

Kennedy used the example to explain that charter schools and vouchers could provide a better alternative for students.

But Democratic Sen. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut disagreed with the example.

“Frankly, the day we start treating the education of our children like the marketing of our condiments is the day we have given up on our kids,” Murphy said.

“Cross between Socrates and Dirty Harry”

When Kennedy endorsed his predecessor then-Sen. David Vitter in Vitter's run for governor, Kennedy called Vitter, who was clouded by a scandal involving a D.C. prostitute, "a cross between Socrates and Dirty Harry."

Major league and minor league pigs

When Kennedy was asked about accusations of sexual misconduct against his colleague then-Sen. Al Franken and his fellow Republican Roy Moore of Alabama, the party’s nominee for last month’s Senate election, Kennedy didn’t mince words.

“They’re all pigs,” he said, according to WGNO in New Orleans.

But he said there were some differences among swine.

“There are major league pigs; there are minor league pigs,” he said. “There are amateur pigs. There are first time pigs. There are experienced pigs. But they’re all pigs.”

“My Cousin Vinny” and the law

After a video showing Kennedy grilling a number of judicial nominations about their lack of qualifications went viral, Kennedy explained his criteria.

“Just because you’ve seen ‘My Cousin Vinny’ doesn't qualify you to be a federal judge,” he told WWL in December, referring to the 1992 film. “And he has no litigation experience. And my job on the Judiciary Committee is to catch him.

“I would strongly suggest he not give up his day job.”

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