Congressman Michael Grimm (Et al) In "Congressmen Gone Wild: Sea Of Galilee Edition"
Nearly three dozen GOP lawmakers are in a PR nightmare this a.m. after reports surfaced that -- after a night of drinking in Israel last year -- they took a boozy, late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee. We're compelled to inform you that a hometown boy is on the list.
Congressman Michael Grimm joined about 30 GOP congressman in the night of biblical debauchery -- and thank Jesus he apparently kept his clothes on (the same can not be said for other GOP representatives).
Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder apparently led the charge into the holy sea, and was so moved by its biblical significance (read: potentially drunk) that he stripped naked before diving in.
"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, which broke the story of the late-night swim. "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."
Many of the lawmakers cited religious reasons for diving into the sea. Others admitted that booze may have been a factor.
The FBI investigated the incident, which happened during a privately funded "fact-finding" trip paid for by American Israel Educational Foundation, a pro-Israel advocacy group. The trip cost the group about $10,000 per person.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was none too pleased when learning of the late-night swim. From Politico:
But Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who was the senior most GOP lawmaker in Israel on the trip, was so upset about the antics that he rebuked the 30 lawmakers the morning after the Aug. 18, 2011, incident, saying they were distracting from the mission of the trip.
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was also on the privately funded excursion, which means two of the three top House Republicans were a part of this trip. Neither Cantor nor McCarthy went swimming that night, the sources said. Some of their staff did.
Grimm's office did not immediately return our call when asked this morning for comment on whether the Staten Island congressman's swim was fueled by booze. We'll let you know if we hear back.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.