WASHINGTON (AP) — It's a congressional road trip — and a stab at bipartisanship.
Two Texas congressmen — a Democrat and a Republican — are livestreaming their 1,600 mile drive from San Antonio to Washington, talking to constituents as they sit in traffic and even hit the burger drive-thru.
Republican Rep. Will Hurd and Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke rented a Chevrolet Impala in San Antonio on Tuesday after attending a veterans' town hall together and Hurd's flight was canceled due to bad weather in the Northeast. O'Rourke proposed driving the long distance and Hurd agreed, after some consideration, "to show what unites us and not just talk about what divides us."
With viewers typing questions at them on Periscope and then Facebook Live, topics have ranged from veterans programs to the Republican health care bill, from the notion of microwave surveillance to fast-food condiments. They also discussed their favorite buddy cop movie.
"It's a chance to get to know each other, answer your questions and functionally do a cross-country town hall," O'Rourke, 44, told viewers as the two began driving at dawn in San Antonio.
They visited a coffee shop in San Marcos, and then sat in some traffic outside Waco. They eventually ended up at a Waco Whataburger fast-food restaurant, livestreaming as they ordered. O'Rourke joked to viewers that Hurd was "high maintenance" because he ordered their hamburgers in two separate bags and made fun of Hurd's spicy ketchup order.
Stopping to eat their lunch, the two sang along to a country song on the radio, Jerry Reed's "East Bound and Down" from the 1977 road trip movie "Smokey and the Bandit."
They largely agreed on veterans, a major issue in El Paso, a city they both represent.
Asked about White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's comment that microwaves are one possible method of surveillance, O'Rourke said, "It's up to Will and I to make sure that government strikes the right balance between security and privacy."
The trip even featured special guests — Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called in to wish them well. McCarthy expressed surprise that the two were still in Texas more than nine hours into the trip, but they promised him they'd be at the Capitol in time for votes Wednesday night.
O'Rourke, a possible Democratic challenger to Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz next year, said they planned to livestream the entire 20- to 30-hour drive.
The 33-year-old Hurd wasn't sure.
"We may do a Lincoln-Douglas style debate about whether to drive through the night," Hurd said.
Hurd and O'Rourke's livestream video: http://apne.ws/2mXgHiS