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Gator done: GOP takes break from coronavirus relief debate to chow down on alligator

Senator stands in the eye of the storm and talks about sausage, poop

Sen. John Kennedy, here in May, hosted this week’s GOP lunch, which gave him a chance to talk about alligators and poop.
Sen. John Kennedy, here in May, hosted this week’s GOP lunch, which gave him a chance to talk about alligators and poop. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans took a break from their deliberations over a new round of coronavirus relief spending to snack on a Louisiana bayou delicacy: alligator sausage.

“It’s very tasty and will make you very regular,” Sen. John Kennedy told Capitol Hill pool reporters after hosting the GOP lunch.

At least senators running away from reporters in the Capitol basement will have a decent excuse now. Instead of reaching for their cellphones to pretend to take a call, they can just say they had a fresh batch of gator sausage and don’t have time to linger.

The menu also featured crab bisque, and bell peppers stuffed with beef and shrimp, according to the Louisiana Republican. He said the food was provided by a small seafood market and eatery called Lama’s.

As intraparty tension grows over how to prioritize spending in a new round of coronavirus relief, Kennedy said the lunch was a “nice break in the action” and that “I think I saw [Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell smile.”

When asked what he thought of the food offerings, McConnell said it was “different.” 

Said Kennedy, “that’s like an epistle for Mitch.”

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Other senators emerging from the lunch confirmed they spent more time chatting about the food on the menu than next steps for the latest legislative effort to address the pandemic.

“We talked about alligators, and nutria, and just stories from Louisiana,” said Indiana Sen. Mike Braun.

What about the big-dollar aid package, which has been twisting in the wind during a suspenseful week?

Hardly a word, Braun said. “The leader was asked about it, and he said it’s a work in progress.”

It all makes sense, he said, if you consider that Kennedy was on duty this week as host of the lunch. The voluble senator has an aphorism and tasty local recipe for almost every occasion.

“We just listened to Kennedy entertain us,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., revealing that the event was light on policy and heavy on colorful Kennedy-isms.

Asked if senators should have spent more time discussing the relief proposal, Cramer said no. “It’s OK to have lunch every now and then too.”

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