While politics in post-Obama America are as polarizing as ever, there was a touching moment of across-the-aisle concern for U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-N.Y., who announced back in December that he had been diagnosed with a “serious but curable” form of cancer.
On Tuesday, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., took a moment to offer his support and prayers to Raskin, a virulent Trump-hater who was sitting next to him wearing a bandana after undergoing chemotherapy to treat diffuse large B cell lymphoma.
“I want to publicly say, Mr. Raskin, we’re all rooting for you,” Comer said. “We know that you’re going to win this battle if you’re in our thoughts and prayers. And it’s good to see you here today.”
.@RepJamesComer: We’re all rooting for you. We know that you’re going to win this battle. You’re in our thoughts & prayers.@RepRaskin: I’ve been gratified to receive so many kind words of encouragement & sympathy…I certainly plan on getting though this thing and beating it. pic.twitter.com/SOrCQwh23S
— Jeremy Art (@cspanJeremy) January 31, 2023
“Mr. Chairman, thank you so much. It means a lot to me, and I’ve been gratified to receive so many kind words of encouragement and sympathy from colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” Raskin replied, the standard partisan rancor stripped from his voice. “And I hope that these expressions of concern and solidarity will become seeds of friendship over the year. I certainly plan on getting through this thing and beating it. And I thank you for your patience and indulgence.”
The black-and-white bandana Raskin was wearing covered up the apparent hair loss resulting from his chemotherapy, and he credited guitarist and actor Steven Van Zandt for the fashion style in an interview with the Huffington Post.
“I give all honor to Little Steven for creating this look for American men going through something,” Raskin said.
“I’m hanging tough,” he added. “I’ve been through two of six rounds. And the doctors are optimistic, and I’m feeling strong. And my colleagues have been uniformly supportive, Democrats and Republicans — and you know, that means a lot to me.”
The exchange left some on social media appreciative of the “civility” on display, as seen here:
I’m grateful, that congress has some humanity left.
I can’t absolutely hate someone political stance, but still appreciate the person.
— Just Evan™ (@EvanPrinciple) February 1, 2023
A nice moment. Nice to see civility in such a divided workplace.
— Ryan Michaels (@RyanMK99) January 31, 2023
Wow, a nonpartisan gesture of humanity. Maybe there is hope.
— Mike Moore (@mike_ncvol3) January 31, 2023
At the same time, Raskin spurred a rash of condemnation against the GOP when he reportedly joked that Republicans were trying to prevent him from wearing the bandana.
Rep. Jamie Raskin gets a standing ovation in Dem Caucus after saying he will push back on Republican efforts to make him take off the cap he’s been wearing as he undergoes chemotherapy.
“And I will make them take off their toupees,” Raskin said to Dem cheers
— Heather Caygle (@heatherscope) January 31, 2023
The tweet above was flagged by Twitter, with reader-added context noting that the Democratic lawmaker “explained that he was making a joke” and that there “is no indication that any Republicans have actually asked him to remove his cap in the House.” It was also noted that he had previously worn the bandana on the floor of the House without a problem.
Yet, tweets like the one seen below remain up — this one having been seen 1 million times:
House Republicans are making Jamie Raskin remove the cap he has been wearing as he undergoes cancer treatments. I find this disgusting. I stand with Jamie Raskin, do you? ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Zp1xxdVVCG
— 💙Brittney💙 (@AZ_Brittney) January 31, 2023
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