A viral photo of Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas jumping across the tracks of the Senate subway on Tuesday might have made it look like he was avoiding reporters on a heated news day — but was he?
“GOP Sen. Jerry Moran leaps across subway tracks to escape reporters after he sinks healthcare bill,” The Washington Examiner trumpeted in an interpretation echoed by a few other media outlets that reported on the leap.
“When confronted by reporters on Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Moran opted to jump across the tracks of the Senate subway to get away from them,” Business Insider reported.
But it also noted that Moran spent “several minutes” talking to reporters before bolting across the tracks. Some people on social media apparently missed that part.
Moran was the headliner du jour after he and fellow Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, in opposing the latest draft of a Senate Republican bill to replace Obamacare on Monday, basically scuttled the effort.
Then on Tuesday Moran said he would vote to proceed to debate on a bill that would repeal Obamacare without replacing it.
According to a report from Lindsay Wise, Washington correspondent for The Kansas City Star, reporters converged on Moran Tuesday near the subway that runs under the U.S. Capitol.
He answered a few questions before an aide told him it was time to go vote.
When reporters kept asking questions, another senator came up behind Moran and clasped him on the back, Wise reported.
“C’mon, I got to free Jerry Moran,” the senator said. “Free Jerry Moran!”
That’s when Moran jumped across the tracks away from the media scrum and jogged up a set of stairs, followed by reporters. The jump was captured by Associated Press photographer Andrew Harnik.
“The Senator stopped and answered a number of questions from reporters before crossing the tracks because he had to go vote,” Moran spokesman Tom Brandt said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.
“He even spoke to reporters again after he crossed the tracks. This was simply a light-hearted display of athleticism in an effort to not push his way through dozens of reporters.”
Twitter gave the photo viral traction by featuring it as one of its daily “moments,” referring to it as a “stunt.”
“Photographers captured the Kansas Republican leaping across the subway tracks in the Capitol Hill basement to evade reporters,” Twitter wrote. “Some pointed out that Moran had answered reporters’ questions before the stunt.”
Social media leaped at the chance to have a few giggles.
And wait. The senator has done this before?
It should be noted that “track” star Moran reportedly, and often, avails himself of the Senate gym.
McClatchy’s Lesley Clark contributed to this report.