West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin found a way to give Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) a lump of coal for Christmas and not have it be an insult.
Rubio, who began the year giving cable news fodder for his demise by drinking water and ends it as a Tea Party member with an asterisk to his name, certainly spent the year causing enough waves to expect a lump of coal from someone out there. At least this time, his gift was not the usual Santa punishment for children who had a naughty year but a symbol of hard work and integrity from a Senator whose state prides itself on the mining of coal.
Sen. Manchin gave the Republican senator not just any lump of coal, but an elephant statue made of the precious fuel, according to U.S. News and World Report.
The full report on the Senate Secret Santa is full of unique and interesting gifts. 65 Senators participated–a five-person increase from last year, according to founder and host Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)–and could not spend more than $15 on their gifts.
Some Senators decided to represent their own states, like Sen. Manchin and Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), who gave Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) an assortment of Arkansas-made jams and jellies. Others tried to provide the recipient with something that reminds them of home, like California wine (Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)’s gift) or the most delicious gift of all, a package of Dunkin Donuts coffee. This went to Massachusetts’ Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at the hands of Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Sen. Franken founded the Secret Santa event three years ago as a way to foster bipartisanship during the holiday season and has seen attendance grow every year.
While many members of Congress continue to stay in Washington, D.C., for some time after sessions have ended, the heavily criticized Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)/Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) budget deal marked the end of official business in Congress according to the official calendar released at the beginning of the year.