Congressman Learns Capitol Dome Isn't His Personal Gym

Report filed against GOP's Rich McCormick of Georgia for 'unsafe' pullups hundreds of feet high
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2024 7:37 AM CST
Congressman Dinged for 'Unsafe' Pullups at Capitol
Rich McCormick speaks during a news conference on Jan. 4, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The last thing that officials at the US Capitol need is a visitor jumping over a guardrail and getting in a workout hundreds of feet in the air—and not just any visitor, but a sitting US congressman. That's what apparently happened Tuesday when Georgia Republican Rick McCormick was taking a tour of the dome, leading to a complaint sent by the Capitol Visitor Center to the House sergeant-at-arms over McCormick's "unsafe" actions, reports Politico. The outlet reviewed an email that alleges McCormick ignored a sign reading "No person permitted above this platform under any circumstances," climbed over a security railing on the "Tholos" level (said to be about 210 feet above the Capitol's plaza), and grabbed onto a crossbar and started doing some pullups.

McCormick's staff reportedly filmed him during these antics. On Wednesday, McCormick scoffed at the hubbub, telling reporters he "didn't do anything dangerous," noting, "I used to get paid to jump out of perfectly good aircraft" (the congressman was in the Marines and Navy). He also joked that he'd done "five more reps" than Teddy Roosevelt had ever done. When asked if he'd actually been suspended hundreds of feet in the air, McCormick said, "That's the story," though he also noted that the story had become "overblown," per the Hill.

McCormick's staff has since responded to the incident, calling it a "misunderstanding." McCormick—who Politico notes is known for "being adventurous" on Capitol Hill, including skateboarding around the halls—isn't exactly a household name, though in November the congressman temporarily closed a district office in Cumming, Georgia, due to "serious threats of violence" against his staff, USA Today reported at the time. Fellow Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene also accused him late last year of getting physically aggressive with her, though McCormick says he grabbed her by the shoulders as a "friendly gesture," per CNN. He later apologized. (More US Capitol stories.)

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