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Rep. Katie Porter’s most viral moments in Congress

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Rep. Katie Porter has had many viral moments in her congressional career.

Porter, armed with the dry-erase board she utilizes during hearings, has become the subject of a popular meme. And from grilling “Big Oil” executives using a truckload of rice to being pictured reading a book with an expletive in the title during the House speaker vote, the California Democrat has gone viral on social media numerous times.

More recently, her announcement on Tuesday that she will run for a U.S. Senate seat in 2024 garnered millions of views on Twitter and tens of thousands of retweets in less than a day.

Here are five of Porter’s top moments on social media.

Doing the math

In 2019, Porter, then a freshman member of the House, grilled JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon on arithmetic. Referencing the story of an employee who ran a deficit of over $500 per month due to her inability to cover basic expenses with her salary, Porter asked, “Mr. Dimon, you know how to spend $31 million a year in salary, and you can’t figure out how to make up $567 a month in shortfall? This is a budget problem you cannot solve?”

After the hearing, Porter took to Twitter to post a photo of herself holding — what else — a whiteboard displaying her calculations.

“During my questioning, (JPMorgan) CEO Jamie Dimon said he didn’t know if all my numbers were accurate,” she tweeted. “Here’s the math so he can check.”

The iconic whiteboard

Porter’s whiteboard has made its appearance in several high-profile congressional hearings, including a House Financial Services Committee hearing during which she grilled former Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan about the bank’s fraud scandal.

She’s also questioned pharmaceutical industry executives on how they utilized funds.

In a House Oversight Committee hearing in 2020, Porter probed former Celgene CEO Mark Alles about the company tripling the price of one pill of Revlimid, a cancer drug, from 2005 to 2020.

“I want to turn to one other number, if you would help me,” she said as she wrote $13 million on her whiteboard, referring to Alles’ salary in 2017, which saw an increase after the price of Revlimid went up.

“To recap here, the drug didn’t get any better, the cancer patients didn’t get any better, you just got better at making money,” she said.

Bags of rice and M&M’s

The Orange County congresswoman has used a truckload of rice and M&M’s candies to illustrate the spending habits of oil executives.

During a hearing with “Big Oil” executives in 2021, Porter slammed Shell for not investing enough in clean energy initiatives.

“According to your annual report, you said you’re going to spend $16 to 17 billion on oil, gas and chemical with another $3 billion for marketing,” Porter said while she poured M&M’s from one mason jar to another. “How much is Shell spending on renewable energy?”

She then used bags of rice as a prop to visualize how many acres of land are being leased by fossil fuel companies.

A subtle art

Porter made headlines more recently when she was caught on camera reading a book titled “The Subtle Art of Not Giving (an expletive)” during the House speaker vote, which dragged on for several days.

“An icon,” tweeted the global head of communications at Twitch, while another Twitter user said, “Not so subtle with the matching outfit, but it is (fire emoji) nonetheless.”

Ben Carson’s Oreo moment

Porter drew virtual laughter when footage of her asking former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson in 2019 whether he knew what the housing term “REO” surfaced on the web.

“Do you know what an REO is?” Porter asked. Mishearing the congresswoman, Carson responded, “An Oreo?”

Eventually, Carson incorrectly answered her question, leading Porter to explain the “real estate owned” term.

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