Markwayne Mullin bites
(Mike Allen)

Sometimes fiction is not far off from fact.

In the case of U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma), apparently fighting and biting are unapologetic parts of his game.

During a committee hearing with International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien this past week, the senator challenged the union boss to a physical fight over some very important and consequential tweets in which O’Brien hurled insults in Mullin’s direction. Isn’t that what Twitter, now X, is for?

I hardly know what to say about the entire exchange. Of all people, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-Vermont) — the chairman of the committee — had to break up the kerfuffle, although he wasn’t wearing a referee jersey at the time.

In subsequent interviews, you might have expected Mullin to act like a senator and an adult by apologizing and moving on with business. Instead, he doubled down, telling a podcast that he is willing to fight and isn’t afraid to bite.

“And I don’t care where I bite, by the way,” said Mullin, a former pugilist and wrestling enthusiast.

The implications are interesting, and Mullin is now risking some pretty pointed nicknames, especially after a former Republican congressman from Michigan emailed Politico with a story of Mullin putting his finger up the noses of colleagues and their spouses in 2015 on a trip to Israel.

In an interview with KOCO, Mullin justified his actions with O’Brien by talking weirdly about former President Andrew Jackson’s duels, saying of O’Brien’s tweets, “What was I supposed to do, sit there and ignore it?”

The answer to that question is “Yes,” always.

All of this is fairly on-brand for Mullin, so perhaps these events don’t come as a surprise to many Oklahomans. At this point, I suppose you either laugh or cringe about it.

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