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GOP lawmaker reported for doing pull-ups hundreds of feet up in US Capitol dome

The lawmaker refused to say how many pull ups he completed

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 01 February 2024 20:38 GMT
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A Republican lawmaker has been reported to the US House of Representatives sergeant at arms for reportedly doing pull-ups on railings hundreds of feet above the US Capitol's floor while on a tour.

The Capitol Visitor Centre reported Congressman Rich McCormick for using the US Capitol as a gym during a recent tour. According to the CVC's complaint, Ms McCormick passed by a posted sign saying "no person permitted above this platform under any circumstances" and then climbed over a railing at the Tholos level of the Capitol's dome, according to Politico.

The Tholos level is approximately 200 feet above the Capitol's floor.

His staffers reportedly took photos of him straddling the railing and miming falling to his death, according to an email obtained by Politico.

While he was over the railing Mr McCorkmick reportedly reached up to grab a crossbar and began doing pull-ups while his staffers filmed him.

On Wednesday, Mr McCormick insisted he did not "do anything dangerous" and recalled his former service with the US Marines and Navy.

"I used to get paid to jump out of perfectly good aircraft — this is nothing dangerous," he said.

When asked how many pull-ups he did, he refused to disclose, but said he did "five more reps" than US President Teddy Roosevelt.

CNN’s Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju caught up with Mr McCormick and asked him about the safety of incorporating the Capitol dome into his workouts.

“I’m saying I did pull-ups on some metal structure,” he said, insisting he did not go beyond any signage posted near the dome. “There’s some metal structures up there. It wasn’t anything dangerous. It’s been overblown.”

He said he was not “dangling over” the railing, per the Politico report, and said that anyone can fall at any time.

“You can always fall. I can fall right now,” he said. “You can fall off the dome right now, the people who are walking around right now. There was nothing. Nothing unsafe for me at all.”

While it is technically true that anyone can fall presumably at any time, there is a notable difference in the likelihood that an individual simply walking in the Capitol will fall to their death versus an individual who is doing pull-ups over a 200ft chasm.

His staff has apologised for what they call a "miscommunication" concerning the incident.

"There was a miscommunication and we have apologized," Julie Singleton, Mr McCormick's spokesperson, told Politico.

The lawmaker was reported by a tour guide who watched him perform his stunts. Tour guides are barred from intervening in actions taken by members of Congress, but are able to pass their information along to supervisors, who can then forward the details to the House sergeant at arms.

At this time it’s unclear what — if any — punishments Mr McCormick may face for engaging in feats of strength in the Capitol's dome.

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