As the dean, the longest serving member, of the U.S. House, it fell to Alaska Congressman Don Young to swear in Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who narrowly won the election for speaker of the House.
Young seized the moment to make an unexpected speech on the House floor.
“Madame Speaker, before I issue the oath, I’d like to take the privilege of the floor as the dean. I’ve been in this House longer than anybody else … I love this institution,” he said. “I will be honest: I do not like what I see. It’s time we hold hands and talk to one another.”
That statement drew a standing ovation, mostly from the Democratic side of the aisle.
Young went on to remind Pelosi, and his colleagues, that she will be speaker of the entire house, not of one party.
“That may hurt some of you,” Young said, glancing perhaps more to the Democratic side of the chamber.
He said the House should govern for the good of the country. He said she and Republican leaders could resolve bitter disputes over a drink.
She suggested ice cream.