Playing off of his title as House Minority Whip, Rep. Steny Hoyer made a joke about “whip[ping] people” to a group of African leaders visiting the U.S. for a major diplomatic summit.
“First of all, let me tell my friends from Africa, I do not whip people,” the Maryland Democrat told a crowd at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Wednesday.
Some in the audience laughed, albeit lightly. (RELATED: Biden Praises Limitless Potential Of ‘The Nation Of Africa’)
“And if you watch ‘House of Cards,’ it is not accurate,” Hoyer continued, referencing a show aired on Netflix about the inner workings of Washington D.C. politics.
Wednesday’s event, titled “Dialogue with African CEOs,” was hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus. (RELATED: Obama Sparks Racial Conflict For Votes, Says Rep. Brooks)
Hoyer’s speech covered initiatives meant to boost economic productivity in Africa. He also spoke about the lack of access to electricity on the continent, remarks which would undermine the punchline to his “joke,” which relied on the audience being able to view “House of Cards.”
“Right now, there are 600 million sub-Saharan Africans living without reliable access to electricity,” Hoyer said at the event, according to prepared remarks at his congressional website. “That’s 70 percent of the population – and a significant barrier to growing Africa’s middle class.”
In his House Whip position, Hoyer is charged with getting his fellow Democrats to vote in line with House party leadership, a job that requires a certain amount of forcefulness and aggression.