Messy bookshelves, photos of family members, Red Hot Chili Peppers posters, a dog – Tuesday’s partially remote Senate HELP Committee hearing proved that U.S. senators and the country’s top medical experts are just like the rest of us.
With only a handful of senators showing up to Capitol Hill – and three out of the four witnesses currently self-quarantining due to potential COVID-19 exposure – the hearing showcased an array of backdrops as it was held over Zoom.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, delivered his testimony surrounded by books, books and more books.
Fauci, who appeared to be at home, garnered attention on Twitter for owning a copy of Ron Chernow’s ‘Alexander Hamilton,’ which inspired the Tony Award-winning musical. Walter Isaacson’s ‘Leonardo Da Vinci’ was also in his pile.
One Twitter user also pointed out that Fauci utilized ‘inexpensive fold-out shelves’ to house his book collection, made for people who ‘love books more than interior design.’
Fauci, along with Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of Food and Drugs, and Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are all self-quarantining due to potential COVID-19 exposure at the White House.
Hahn looked to be deploying a fake background, so hearing viewers couldn’t judge his mess, while Redford sat in front of crowded bookshelves filled with pictures including one of Pope John Paul II.
Among the senators, HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander’s dog created the most excitement.
Rufus, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, had a prime viewing spot on top of a table in the senator’s home office behind his shoulders. Rufus, however, slept through most of Tuesday’s testimony, though was heard barking sporadically.
Sen. Bernie Sanders looked like a music fan with Red Hot Chili Peppers and New Power Generation posters in his background shot – but those bands were also supportive of the democratic socialist’s two runs for president.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers poster was from a special performance they held at the downtown Los Angeles Ace Hotel in support of Sanders in February of 2016.
Sanders sold similar posters this cycle to raise funds for his bid whenever a band would appear with him at a campaign event.
New Power Generation, which was Prince’s longtime band, opened for Sanders at a Minneapolis rally in November 2019, where Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the four so-called Democratic ‘squad’ members, made her endorsement of Sanders presidential run official.
Vox journalist described Sen. Mitt Romney’s backdrop has having ‘big grandpa energy,’ as the wall behind him was filled to the brim with family photos.
Romney’s office confirmed to DailyMail.com that Romney has a whopping 25 grandchildren.
Of course a number of backgrounds were uninspired too.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, no stranger to livestreaming appearances from home during her presidential campaign – such as the viral ‘I’m gonna get me a beer‘ moment – presented viewers only with a painting, a table, flowers, a briefcase and a stack of books Tuesday.
And some lawmakers did show up to the hearing in real life.
Sen. Rand Paul, for instance, bickered back and forth with Fauci over school openings with Paul in the Senate committee room and Fauci being played on a nearby television screen.
Paul has made headlines for refusing to wear a mask while on Capitol Hill because he contends he’s not endangering anyone having already contracted the coronavirus.
Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, on the other hand, sported a bandana around his neck for the entirety of the three and a half hour hearing.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Nikki Schwab