This week, there has been considerable discussion of a series of pictures released by the office of Representative Bob Brady that shows him pouring water in the mouths of family members and staff from the glass used by Pope Francis after speaking in Congress. Yesterday, Brady admitted to taking the glass and sharing the water (while insisting on holding the glass himself) but proffered that he asked permission to take the glass. He also confirmed that he did the same with a glass used by President Obama. What is really astonishing is that Brady not only took these pictures but instructed his staff to release them on social media.
Confronted by a torrent of calls from voters and reporters in disbelief, Chief of Staff Stan White explained “The congressman is a Catholic and has immense respect for the Holy Father . . . [and] was immensely moved by the speech. He thought the Holy Father spoke to issues he cared deeply about … especially caring about the poor and the Holy Father’s concern about our environment.”
This is the second such glass snatch for Brady. He did the same thing in claiming the glass from President Obama’s inauguration. Reporters say that Brady told them that he intended have police dust it for fingerprints to prove it was used by Pope Francis and intends to do the same thing with the glass from President Obama.
“I asked permission. I asked the Parliamentarian if I could take the glass and he nodded and said ‘sure, it’s only going to go back into the kitchen and get washed up.’ I didn’t swipe it. I did ask for permission and I am going to get a bill for it. So, I’m going to pay for it. With all the news about it, when I saw the Pope last night, and what a gracious, gracious man. Unbelievable. After all the time in the United States, as he’s leaving, he still has time to stop and have a conversation with every person before he got on the plane. What I said to him, I don’t know whether you heard or not, but I’m the Congressman that took your water glass. He said, yeah, I did hear a little bit about that through his interpreter. I said, by the way, I wanted to make an even swap, I have a flag that was flown over the United States Capitol in your honor, and I want to give that to you for the glass. He said, good, good, good swap. Bueno, bueno.”
Truth be known, most of us were left speechless by the drinking of the Pope’s water as opposed to the question of whether the glass was lifted without permission.
Brady is a long-time Democratic pol in Philadelphia. He was a precinct committeeman for the Democratic Party in 1968 and later became a ward leader. He has also served as a staff aide in the Philadelphia City Council and a staff aide in the Pennsylvania State Senate. He then replaced City Council President George X. Schwartz in the 34th Ward after Schwartz was convicted in the Abscam scandal. Since June 1986, Brady has been the Chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party. He was a member of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission from 1991 before being elected to Congress.