One journalist’s valiant, if unsuccessful attempt to interview the House Freedom Caucus: the Lost Interview.
Our brave reporter infiltrates the favored retreat for the notorious House Freedom Caucus. We present here the previously lost interview.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) greets me with a broad smile and a hearty “Welcome” as he escorts me through the Dominion Gates replica (Buckingham Palace) and onto Nixon Estates. This Arizona landmark is the favored retreat by the House Freedom Caucus. After the bitterness that marked the recent election of Kevin McCarthy to House Speaker, I am anticipating a tense, defensive response to my presence as a journalist. I am wary as I step inside Nixon Mansion and cross the Pietra Firma black marble floor towards The Great Room.
The oak doors suddenly swing open, and I am taken aback. This is obviously party time for The Party. Three dozen congressmen are in high spirits. Jim Jordan (R-OH), leaning against Henry Moore’s Reagan, calls out over the music (Rap? Here? Really?), “Hey Andy! Get Kevin to make him a drink.”
The Ohio powerbroker starts an awkward attempt at rap: “After the treaty, McCarthy give us treaties. He gonna whip up, big vanilla lattees.” Hoots and cackles discharge from the Boca Da Lobo sofa in front of me, where Florida congressmen Matt Gaetz and Byron Donalds sit. They are clearly enjoying the moment.
I gather myself. “McCarthy’s here?” I enquire of Biggs. “Part of his unofficial new duties,” he replies matter-of-factly. “Say, you want a spiked vanilla latte? Kevin!” he shouts. “Ordering. One vanilla latte with a shot. On the double! But careful with those Waterford Crest glasses. Don’t break another one. Remember, we got George Santos waiting in the wings.”
Unofficial new duties? I must have said this aloud, because Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-CO) is suddenly by my side. “I’ll read you his list, (nodding behind her) if Sonny and Cher back there (Bob Good R-VA and Lauren Boebert R-CO) can keep the singing down. GUYS!! . . . Now then. Every morning that the House sits, Kevin has lattes hot and ready for us. “
“Don’t forget about the pastry trays, Marj,” reminds Jordan. “They’re gluten-free,” she continues, “because some of us have wheat allergies. And there’re no bagels, because some of us have Jew allergies.”
Taylor Greene recites a lengthy list of light housekeeping duties that include emptying waste baskets, cleaning ash trays and carpets. Bob Good interjects, “Marjorie got him a Pullman Porter cap to wear. He looks so-o-o-o adorable. Got him a nice new apron too.”
Taylor Greene groans, “Ugh, I forgot to check . . . Kevin!!. . . Kevi-i-i-in!! Did you clean the pee stains out of Congressman Good’s bathroom mat?” Good confesses to having mild prostate issues. “Nothing serious. But we got Kevin batting CLEAN-UP!” Suddenly the entire room is awash with snickers and giggles.
“That boy,” sighs Taylor Greene. “Lazy by nature. Ya gotta keep on him and keep on him . . . Kevin!!. . . Kevin!!
A cacophony of metal clangs and shattering glass escapes from behind a closed door. A muffled, bedraggled, ”saw-reee” seeps into the room.
“Let me handle this.” Gaetz’s temper seems about to bust loose. “Kevin! We talked about this before. Don’t mumble. And it’s a clear yes suh, no suh, or yes boss!”
“Or yassah, mistah Cholley,” adds Byron Donalds, the only Black congressman in the room. “I added that one,” he states quite proudly. “And you know what else? I started calling him ‘Stepin’. Get it? Stepin Fetchit.” Donalds explodes into fits of laughter at his own wit. “And what’s really cool, sometimes I go ‘Hey boy. Shuffle ‘long out here.’” He is convulsing on the floor, gasping, his lungs struggling with the demands of hysteria.
It is now a contagion. Shrieks of laughter detonate all around me. Thirty-six casualties, and counting. Lauren Boebert is in tears, trying desperately to form words intended for Gaetz. “Matt,” she cries. “Show him . . . the . . . lawn jockey.” “We had it specially made,” explains Gaetz. “Lauren just picked it up today.”
I suddenly realize I am holding a vanilla latte, because I spill it when I look down and meet the sorrowful gaze of a Kevin McCarthy Lawn Jockey. Tidal waves of giggles well up and sweep me away in a raging torrent of giddiness. I am trapped in a dark, giggly place. I can’t fight it. I can’t catch my breath. I’m losing my journalist’s composure. I’m losing consciousness. I’m losing the interview – I can’t do it.
There’s a scrawled note on a napkin that somehow has found its way into my jacket pocket. I’m losing something else. My sense of human decency. I read the note’s desperate message. Then suddenly, tectonic plates of self-control begin to shift and crack within me. A volcanic eruption of laughter spews forth as I read, “Help me. Oh, God. Please! K.M.”