Capitol Hill Buzz: Senator charged by elephant in Africa

AP News
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Posted: Feb 26, 2016 2:00 PM
Capitol Hill Buzz: Senator charged by elephant in Africa

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans like to tout the elephant as their party symbol, but as Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake recently found out, the animals don't always like Republicans.

The GOP senator posted a video on his Twitter account Thursday of a group of elephants, including baby elephants, charging his group's vehicle in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. The video filmed from the back of the vehicle shows a small herd running toward them, and someone says "go, go, go" from the car as it speeds up.

"These elephants have no respect for a fellow Republican," Flake tweeted in a post that included the video. "No respect I tell ya."

Management at Gorongosa National Park confirmed that elephants approached a U.S. delegation during a visit last week.

Flake was part of a congressional mission of Republicans and Democrats that he led to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia last week to investigate the harmful effects of wildlife trafficking and poaching. He has introduced a bill to require the U.S. government to work with countries affected by wildlife poaching.

Flake is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Africa and Global Health Policy subcommittee.

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Before becoming the nation's top diplomat, John Kerry spent 24 years in the Senate and knows what makes Capitol Hill tick.

But there's always more to learn.

At a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., asked the secretary of state why he'd not yet responded to a letter Blunt had sent him in late January about the return of American hostages from Iran.

"Have you seen that letter yet?" Blunt asked. "I haven't seen it," Kerry answered.

One of Blunt's aides then handed a copy of the letter to a member of Kerry's staff.

Blunt wasn't done. Noting that Kerry has complained about the GOP-led Senate's delays in approving nominees for high-level State Department posts, Blunt said quicker responses to letters from senators may result in speedier confirmations.

"You were here long enough and understand this system as well as anybody," Blunt said. "It would be helpful if you could be more responsive."

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Associated Press writer Richard Lardner contributed to this report.

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Follow Mary Clare Jalonick on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mcjalonick