When President Obama found out that John Boehner and his wife Debbie were also in Hawaii for Christmas, he invited the Speaker of the House to play a round of golf, followed by a traditional Hawaiian luau. The event was a goodwill gesture, no doubt aimed at helping Boehner work on his tan as well as putting the relationship on a better footing.
The press was notified in advance, including a copy of the menu. The main course was what’s to be expected of a luau — a whole, roasted pig. But the pig was not only the centerpiece of the meal, it also provided a dramatic turn of events in the connection between the two men.
According to witnesses who preferred to remain anonymous — in order to avoid Boehner’s famous wrath — the First Family and John and Debbie Boehner were enjoying a huge spread of local foods like poi and pineapple boats when the event veered in a nearly tragic direction. The Congressman had reportedly consumed an unknown quantity of Hawaiian Mai Tais and became more and more animated in his conversation with the President.
After taking a huge bite of roast pork, Boehner suddenly went silent, turned deep red, and was apparently choking on the meat. Obama, seated closest to Boehner, jumped into action. He administered a deft Heimlich maneuver that sent the offending pork shooting across the table, hitting Debbie Boehner in the forehead.
Both Boehners struggled to regain their composure, however the Congressman was visibly upset, embarrassed, and still intensely red-in-the-face. He quickly collected his wife and left — supposedly without even thanking Obama for saving his life.
As they exited the President’s vacation home and entered a waiting limousine, the press corps shouted questions about how the dinner had gone, especially given its unexpectedly abrupt ending. Boehner remained stony-faced and silent as he departed.
Word quickly leaked out, however — apparently by way of amused guests — so press secretary Josh Earnest came out to release a statement:
The President and First Lady regret the near brush with tragedy this evening, and want it to be known that ‘No, Obama did not do it!’ The President and First Lady in no way arranged for Congressman Boehner to choke on his roast pig — although they did participate in selecting the menu. They are very grateful that the incident came to a positive conclusion.
At that point, the President himself appeared behind Earnest and called ‘Merry Christmas’ to the assembled reporters. When asked how he thought the incident would affect his future relationship with Boehner and the GOP’s Congressional delegation, he replied with a sly grin:
Let me be perfectly clear — this should put a stop to any talk that I don’t take action fast enough.
Duly noted, Mr. President.
Feature photo by Rik Panganiban, courtesy of Creative Commons