Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell appeared on a camel shirtless in pictures that were reportedly posted to Instagram, according to Business Insider. The photos were taken on a trip to Qatar funded in large part by the U.S.-Qatar Business Council during the pandemic, it was reported Friday.
The story was originally published by Business Insider after the photos surfaced on Instagram. The trip was funded by the U.S.-Qatar Business Council to the tune of $84,621.59 according to the New York Post. The trip included Swalwell and his wife along with Reps. Ruben Gallego, Luis Correa, Sara Jacobs, and Lisa McClain.
Because sometimes Democratic congressmen need to ride shirtless on camels through Qatar during a pandemic on trips funded by special interest groups. (And yes, we have the photos.)
— Dave Levinthal (@davelevinthal) July 9, 2021
The U.S.-Qatar Business Council reached out to the New York Post stating that it only provided funding for, “costs directly associated with travel and the working agenda of the trip.” However, the event has reignited a long-time debate around the ethics of allowing interests groups to pay for such trips at all.
In the article released by Business Insider, Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, who works for the Project on Government Oversight stated, “It is probably not in the mind of the average person who casts a ballot that their representative will spend their time in Miami or LA or New York, schmoozing with national activist and donor types.”
Swalwell has been a longtime advocate of face masks, and critics had what to say about his bare face.
While Eric Swalwell was scolding people for not following COVID rules he was taking special-interest funded trips to Qatar where he was maskless (and shirtless) riding camels. https://t.co/OulueU83Dh https://t.co/pzQrzcL8Sx pic.twitter.com/4iMTXqihaj
— Mike Berg (@MikeKBerg) July 9, 2021
In fact, after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) changed guidelines for vaccinated individuals, Swalwell yelled in the face of a congressional staffer over masks, according to the New York Post. He reportedly yelled, “You don’t tell me what to fucking do!” (Related: ‘You Don’t Tell Me What To F**king Do!’: Eric Swalwell Rebuffs Marjorie Taylor Greene Aide For Telling Him He Can Ditch His Mask)