The incident took place at a Senate lunch on Thursday
According to a spokesperson for Ernst, the 53-year-old lawmaker is now okay.
Washington Post reporter Liz Goodwin wrote about the incident on social media platform X, saying that 60-year-old Paul's quick actions led to "unusual praise from his colleagues," including Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who she quoted as saying: “God bless Rand Paul. I never thought I’d say that.”
Goodwin added that the menu for the Senate lunch was themed around Ernst's home state of Iowa, and included pork chops and rib eye.
Ernst herself confirmed the reports, making light of them on X, where she wrote: "Can’t help but choke on the woke policies Dems are forcing down our throats. Thanks, Dr. @RandPaul!"
— Joni Ernst (@SenJoniErnst) November 30, 2023
Paul — an ophthalmologist from Kentucky — is a divisive figure in Congress, often publicly engaging in tense verbal exchanges with Dr. Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Paul was a vocal critic of lockdown measures put in place as a result of the pandemic.
He also made headlines in 2017, when he was physically assaulted by a neighbor, which resulted in injuries.
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Ernst, who assumed office in 2015, is a senator from Iowa and former combat veteran. As chair of the Republican Policy Committee, she ranks No.4 in GOP Senate leadership.
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