The FBI reportedly probed an apparently alcohol-friendly late night swim in Israel involving a bunch of Republican lawmakers in which one GOPer apparently decided to let it all hang out in a nude swim. Politicians usually don’t like to stick their necks out, but Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) reportedly stuck something else out. Or perhaps he was taking a break from political wars and decided to follow advice that he turn the other cheek:
The FBI probed a late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee that involved drinking, numerous GOP freshmen lawmakers, top leadership staff – and one nude member of Congress, according to more than a dozen sources, including eyewitnesses.
During a fact-finding congressional trip to the Holy Land last summer, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) took off his clothes and jumped into the sea, joining a number of members, their families and GOP staff during a night out in Israel, the sources told POLITICO. Other participants, including the daughter of another congressman, swam fully clothed while some lawmakers partially disrobed. More than 20 people took part in the late-night dip in the sea, according to sources who were participants in the trip.
“A year ago, my wife, Brooke, and I joined colleagues for dinner at the Sea of Galilee in Israel. After dinner I followed some Members of Congress in a spontaneous and very brief dive into the sea and regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit,” Yoder said in a statement to POLITICO. “It is my greatest honor to represent the people of Kansas in Congress and [for] any embarrassment I have caused for my colleagues and constituents, I apologize.”
I can just hear Rush Limbaugh now: “They were only trying to make a big splash in Israel.”
Travis Smith, Yoder’s chief of staff, told POLITICO “Neither Congressman Yoder, nor his staff, have been interviewed by the FBI.”
These GOP sources confirmed the following freshmen lawmakers also went swimming that night: Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) and his daughter; Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and his wife; Reps. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.). Many of the lawmakers who ventured into the lake said they did so because of the religious significance of the waters. Others said they were simply cooling off after a long day. Several privately admitted that alcohol may have played a role in why some of those present decided to jump in.
“May”? Well, maybe they would under normal conditions jump into the Sea of Galilee.
Or they perhaps they mistunderstood their constituents: their constituents had probably been asking them to jump in a lake.
The Sea of Galilee, a Christian holy site, is where Jesus is said in the Bible to have walked on water.
It didn’t work for Rep. Yoder when he jumped wearing only his birthday suit.
But the FBI’s investigation of the path should have been easy: all they had to do was to follow the trail of the vomiting fish.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.