international relations

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher Claims He Drunkenly Arm-Wrestled Vladimir Putin

Photo: Dmitry Astakhov/AFP/Getty Images, Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Representative Dana Rohrabacher has a Vladimir Putin tale that, if true, puts New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s story of his stolen Super Bowl ring to shame. While speaking with a local radio station on Thursday, the California Republican took listeners on a journey back to “about 1990 or 1991,” when a group of young Russian politicians visiting Washington, D.C., stopped by his office “because I had been a Reagan speechwriter.” After some chatting, Rohrabacher asked the Russians if they’d like to play some football with him and “a bunch of [his] right-wing friends,” including Scooter Libby. Among the three to accept was then–deputy mayor of St. Petersburg Vladimir Putin.

Following the game, Rohrabacher says he brought his new friends to a bar, where they began “arguing about who won the Cold War,” as people did in those days. 

And so we decided to settle it like men do when they’ve had a little bit too much to drink at the pub. So we got down to these arm-wrestling matches and I ended up being paired off with Putin — and he’s a little guy, but boy, I’ll tell ya: He put me down in a millisecond. He is tough, his muscles are just unbelievable.

Luckily, an unnamed buddy of Rohrabacher’s was around to sort of preserve the dignity of the United States by beating Putin’s bodyguard in a subsequent matchup, but we now know why the Russian president doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism.

Rohrabacher Says He Drunkenly Arm-Wrestled Putin