Inside the Capitol building, underneath a statue of Barry Goldwater, a cluster of Republican members of Congress are gathered around a keg and holding red Solo cups. Among them are House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Speaker Paul Ryan, and Representatives Scalise and Rodgers. It’s June 2016.
Scalise: … so the bartender says, “Do you really think I wanted a 12-inch pianist?”
Ryan: I’ve heard that one.
Kev: I laugh every time.
Rodgers: Okay, here’s one, here’s one–A priest, a rabbi, and a mullah walk into a bar–
Ryan: Is this an anti-Catholic joke?
Scalise: Dude, hush.
Rodgers: A priest, a rabbi, and a mullah walk into a bar. The bartender says, “What is this, a joke?”
[Laughter, jostling. Kev’s beer sloshes onto the floor.]
Kev: Not bad, for a chick.
Ryan: Here, I’ll top you off.
[Refills Kev’s beer, refills his own, offers the spout to the other two.]
Rodgers: What’s with the head on that, Paul-o?
Kev: Lame! [blows on the foam]
Scalise fumbles with his iPhone: You guys, I’m putting this on my YouTube channel. Smile and say, “EMAILS!”
[Ryan turns his baseball hat backward. They put their arms around each other and toast.]
Kev: Hey, I’ve got a good one–Putin’s paying Donald Trump!
Rodgers: Because no one in New York will give him a dime?
Kev: No, I mean it. I think Putin’s paying him.
Scalise: That’s not funny. What would be funny is Putin paying Giuliani.
Ryan: Joke’s on Putin.
Rodgers: No, no—Putin paying Christie. No, Putin paying Roger Stone.
Ryan, in wan Midwestern impersonation of Brando’s Godfather: “I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse.”
Kev: No, no; you have to say it like this. [Repeats with fake Russian accent, like bad Yakov Smirnoff impersonation]– “I’m going to make you an offer…”
[Laughter. Ryan loses some beer out his nose]
Kev: Really, though. I mean it. I think Putin dropped off a few truckloads of gold rubles at Trump’s penthouse. Swear to God.
Ryan’s eyes suddenly go dark, red-rimmed; he puts his arms around the other three, draws them into a huddle, says in an uncharacteristically deep, menacing, yet still nasal Midwestern voice: Never speak of this again.
Scalise: Paul, man, lighten up. It’s us.
Kev: I need to take a leak.
Ryan, still menacing: NO LEAKS.
Kev: Hold my beer.
The author is the editor of Scoundrel Time.
Note: Here’s the original Washington Post story about McCarthy and Ryan’s conversation.