A spokesman for Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) confirmed to Breitbart News Thursday afternoon that the congressman was indeed the representative seen on a Zoom meeting with colleagues wearing a Captain America T-shirt and boxer shorts.
The video, which was shared by Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and others, appears to show an internal Zoom video of a meeting of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security to consider the department’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2022.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas testified at the meeting, which aired on C-SPAN3 on Thursday morning.
The Zoom version shows Payne appearing to wake up from sleep during the meeting. As other members — notably, Ranking Member Kat Cammack (R-FL) — look on in horror, Payne appears to sit up on a bed in his office, wearing a Captain America T-shirt and boxer shorts.
— Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (@RepBethVanDuyne) June 17, 2021
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) June 17, 2021
Payne then stands up, with his bare belly poking out, and walks off camera — as Cammack stares, open-mouthed.
Asked for an explanation, Payne’s office provided a statement from him: “As a public servant, my focus has always been the public good and my work to better the lives of my constituents and all Americans, regardless of the circumstances.”
Later in the hearing, Payne reappeared in time to ask questions of Mayorkas, wearing a shirt and tie, but with bedding clearly visible in his office behind him.
Fox News noted that Payne appeared to fall asleep earlier this year during another remote committee hearing.
The House adopted the use of Zoom meetings and remote or proxy voting as supposedly temporary measures to ensure social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.