Alexander throws stick at Democrat, damages glass elephant

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee threw a “walking stick” toward Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia during bipartisan discussions on ending the government shutdown, according to Politico, and instead hit a glass elephant that was “nearly shattered.”

The talks were organized by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and held in her office. From the Politico story that, overall, focuses on Congress ending the shutdown Monday:

To try and keep the peace, Collins wouldn’t let any senator in the room talk unless they were holding a “talking stick” — which one aide later said was a Maasai leadership stick that Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) gave Collins a few years ago. At one point, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee forcefully tossed the stick toward Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia after Warner interrupted him, nearly shattering a glass elephant belonging to Collins, according to two people briefed on the throw. After that incident, Collins suggested using a small rubber ball, and Alexander also brought his own basketball “because it’d be safer than a stick,” an aide said.

Other national media, including The Hill and CNN, reported on the episode but without using the names of the senators involved. From the CNN account:

One Republican senator describing the incident told CNN the stick was successful, but on one occasion, one of the other senators was speaking while another asked a question and then turned with another quick, longer, louder question. The member who was holding the stick “forcefully delivered” the stick across the room — but it missed its mark and caused damage to a shelf in Collins’ office.

A glass elephant sitting on a shelf owned by Collins became the casualty, with the stick chipping it a little bit.

“There were no injuries, there were a couple close calls but everything worked out fine,” another Republican senator said about the talking stick and the elephant incident.

The source told CNN all the senators laughed about the incident, and after that, Collins replaced the stick with a small rubber ball.

One of the senators involved in the event brought a little basketball as a joke, and the senators started using it. The senator who originally described the incident told CNN the entire incident was in good spirits.

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