Sean Hannity praised the U.S. senator who tried to start a physical fight during a committee hearing Wednesday, saying the Oklahoma Republican’s efforts were beyond reproach and would only help him gain favor with his constituents.
Hannity lauded Sen. Markwayne Mullin, whom he had as a guest on his Fox News show, saying “any other response kinda would have been a little gutless.”
“I would agree with that,” Mullin replied. “I mean what did people want me to do? If I didn’t do that, people in Oklahoma would be pretty upset at me. That’s not how we’re raised, and I’m suppose to represent Oklahoma values.”
The incident happened during a hearing for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, where Teamsters president Sean O’Brien testified regarding the spike in the manufacturing of electric vehicles in the U.S. and the efforts of collective bargaining in the country. Mullin largely ignored the premise of the hearing, instead focusing on social media posts of O’Brien’s in which the labor leader called Mullin a clown after a previous hearing.
“If you want to run your mouth, we can be two consenting adults. We can finish it here,” Mullin said during the hearing, also telling O’Brien to “stand your butt up.”
Hannity said he not only thought it wouldn’t hurt Mullin with Oklahoma voters but that his “popularity will go up 10-fold as a result.”
“He called you out, you called him out for calling you out,” Hannity said. “And that’s kind of old-school the way it used to be, isn’t it?”
“Well yeah, it is,” Mullin replied.
“I’m a guy from Oklahoma first. In Oklahoma you don’t do this,” Mullin said of O’Brien. “Maybe you run your mouth in New Jersey. I don’t know, I’m not from New Jersey, but this is some thug that’s a mob boss and he’s supposed to be intimidating because he’s a boss of the Teamsters.
“And he’s gotten away with this,” O’Brien continued. “He’s gotten suspended by his own Teamsters before for intimidation. He’s been in trouble multiple times. In 2022, he said he wanted to bring a mob mentality back to the Teamsters. Maybe that’s true, but you’re still not going to run your mouth at me and expect me to just sit there. And you should have seen the fear in his eyes when I stood up.”
O’Brien was indeed suspended by the Teamsters in 2013 after an independent board reviewed comments he made at a campaign event. A vice president of the labor organization at the time, O’Brien had said of a candidate who was running for office at a Teamster local in Rhode Island: “Anybody who takes on my friend, they’ve got a major problem [and] need to be punished,” a remark that would undoubtedly be taken with a large grain of salt in the current post-Trump era.
TheWrap could not further verify Mullin’s reference to O’Brien’s being in trouble “multiple times” nor could it verify Mullin’s reference to O’Brien’s “mob mentality” remark.
“I’m not joking,” Mullin continued. “I’m not looking for a fight. I used to get paid to fight professionally. I’m not really looking for it, but I’m certainly not going to sit back and let somebody do that and not call him out on it.”
Mullin, 46, was elected to the Senate in November after serving 10 years in the House. According to his online bio, he is a former MMA fighter with a professional record of 5-0, in addition to being “a working cow-calf rancher.”
Watch video of the Fox News segment in two different takes below:
Mullin says if he didn’t challenge Senate witnesses to fist fights, the people of Oklahoma would be upset with him pic.twitter.com/VdfKs8MYud
— Acyn (@Acyn) November 15, 2023
— Sean Hannity
(@seanhannity) November 15, 2023