When the leaders of the House of the Country’s Democratic Committee gathered for a regular Zoom check-in earlier this year, one of the leaders was asleep at the wheel.
While the nation’s most powerful elected officials planned, strategized and briefed their peers on what they were up to, Rep. Jerry Nadler — chairman of the House Judiciary Committee — napped.
“He was rock-a-bye baby. Meetings typically last half an hour and he was out for about 15 minutes,” a Democratic Hill official who answered the phone told The Post.
The aide said no one bothered to wake the sleeping giant and things continued to buzz without him.
“It’s just a known thing,” the aide said of Nadler’s serial snoozing.
The moment sums up concern from Nadler’s colleagues on both sides of the aisle that the 75-year-old congressional warhorse, who spent three decades in the House of Representatives and just beat veteran Carolyn Maloney in a key Manhattan primary last month, has slowed down significant.
“Staff have to wake him up regularly during hearings,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida), who works with Nadler on the committee, told The Post.
“I don’t think it’s like Dianne Feinstein,” said a House Democrat who works closely with Nadler — referring to the notoriously insane 89-year-old California senator. “You can just tell that he’s not … that involved with others.”
Two House insiders say Nadler’s deterioration played a role in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to sideline him during former President Trump’s first impeachment hearing in 2019.
Pelosi instead assigned Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff to lead the party’s first impeachment inquiry — a decision Nadler was forced to accept, the Washington Post reported at the time.
As his committee debated Trump’s impeachment proceedings in December 2019, Nadler once again caught Zzzs.
“During Rep. Mike Johnson’s (R-Louisiana) speaking time, Nadler fell asleep on live television in front of millions of viewers. I was in the room when it happened and it took everything we could to hold back the laughter,” a GOP staffer recalled. Video of Nadler nodding off made the rounds on social media.
“He’s also known for taking longer breaks when hearings run particularly late at night, and handing the gavel to another member to chair while he’s gone – we have no idea where he’s going,” added the same aide added.
When things got tense during the hearing, several GOP officials asked Nadler to concede on a point of order, prompting the chairman’s nervous assistant to flutter like a hummingbird behind him and whisper in his ear.
At one point, Nadler was caught at a hot mic and asked, “Is that a point of order?”
“I’m not trying to be mean, but he’s really kind of upset. The general talk is that California Rep Zoe Lofgren is next in line and we don’t want such a savvy officer because she’s definitely not on the sidelines,” said another GOP staffer close to the committee. “There’s a pattern with Nadler where it’s really not clear what his mental state is like. I’ll just be honest.”
“Like 2 p.m. or after lunch—Jerry [will] Be underpowered and you can count on you to look over there and see him sleeping,” added a third Committee insider.
During his 2022 feature race against Maloney, a confused Nadler stumbled through a debate and once boasted, “I’ve impeached Bush twice.”
Nadler’s wife, Joyce Miller, began battling pancreatic cancer in January 2020 and is still battling the disease. Several people familiar with Nadler’s situation say his struggles have only escalated since his diagnosis.
“Since his wife’s illness, there has been a noticeable shift,” lamented a Democratic colleague.
Nadler himself has a long history of health problems. In 2019, the congressman nearly collapsed at a press conference in Manhattan and had to be taken to a hospital. He famously underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2002 and was once so obese he couldn’t use the subway.
Nadler officials did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.
https://nypost.com/2022/09/10/congressman-jerry-nadler-a-serial-napper/ Congressman Jerry Nadler is a serial napper