Congressman Don Young, Republican from Alaska, has done plenty of fucked-up shit during his 46-year tenure in the House of Representatives.
He once held a 10-inch knife to the throat of former Speaker John Boehner for “heckling” him. He also threatened to bite a fellow House Republican for objecting to one of his earmarks. In 2014, his spokesman couldn’t really deny that Young had killed someone. Just last February, he asked the Alaska Municipal League, “How many Jews were put in the ovens because they were unarmed?” Given this history, a story about Young spending his mornings ogling women staffers isn’t potentially all that shocking, but you’re getting one anyway.
On Saturday, Young was a guest on The Alaska Landmine, a podcast that delivers news and gossip focused on the colorful politicians and public figures of Alaska. Halfway through the interview, the conversation turned to Congressman Charlie Wilson, the late Democratic congressman known for his leadership in Operation Cyclone during the Soviet-Afghan war—which inspired a book and the Tom Hanks movie Charlie Wilson’s War—as well as his extravagant lifestyle of parties, drugs, alcohol, and general womanizing.
“They didn’t do justice to him in his book nor his movie, he was much more picturesque and much more exciting,” Young said. “He was everything they said but a little more.”
Young’s office was next door to Wilson’s, a fact that he admitted taking advantage of on a daily basis.
YOUNG: I used to go visit his office, every day about 10 o’clock, and I’d go over there primarily to look at all the attractions.
THE ALASKA LANDMINE: [Laughs] Charlie’s Angels.
YOUNG: Charlie’s Angels. There were two people—Charlie Wilson and Murphy from New York—[who] competed to see who had the most attractive people working for them.
A December 2007 Washington Post piece about the Washington premiere of that aforementioned Tom Hanks movie touched on Charlie’s Angels with a sense of unbridled glee. Wilson was unable to attend the premiere due to a heart transplant he received a couple of months prior. But, as the Post noted, “about 20 of Charlie’s Angels were on hand, decked out in cocktail dresses and eager to see what Hollywood did with the story of their legendary ex-boss.”
Charlie’s Angels were the women who worked in Wilson’s office during his gloriously colorful 24-year career in Congress, and they were famous on Capitol Hill for their pulchritude and general foxiness. Now a decade or two older, they were amused to see themselves portrayed on screen wearing sexy, low-cut dresses in the office.
“We did not show cleavage in the office,” said Huddleston. “I had no cleavage to show.”
Sure, the Angels loved the movie and thought Tom Hanks made a terrific Charlie, but they grumbled when the film took liberties with their Charlie.
“His apartment didn’t really look like it did in the movie,” said Amy Maccarone.
“No, it was much cheesier in real life,” said D’Anna Tindal, laughing. “It was floor-to-ceiling mirrors.”
“The movie made it seem like he called us all jailbait,” said Maccarone. “He never called us jailbait.”
Well, actually, Charlie really did call a fetching 17-year-old intern “jailbait,” [Elaine Lang] Cornett recalled.
Wilson also brought a Texas belly dancer to Cairo in an attempt to convince an Egyptian defense minister to sell them arms for Afghan rebel fighters. Okay!
Again, Young’s reminiscing perhaps isn’t as riveting as him putting a knife to Boehner’s throat, but it reveals a little something about the good ol’ boys club of Washington, where Young was an admittedly enthusiastic participant in objectifying staffers.
Young is the longest-serving member of the House and is running against Alyse Galvin, an Independent who won the Democratic primary. According to Politico, polls indicate that Young is trailing Galvin by one point. But his throwaway comment about eyeing Wilson’s staffers every morning likely won’t influence anyone’s decision in the midterm elections tomorrow.
Toward the end of Young’s interview on The Alaska Landmine, the proudly boisterous Young said that he usually frets over whether his comments will upset people.
“If it’s offensive to my wife, I won’t say it,” said Young. “But she’s pretty understanding, and that to me is very, very important.”