That time when Rep. Don Young pulled a 10-inch knife



The story has been told before in Alaska political circles, to great effect, but now it’s out there in the big wide world of Politico — Rep. Don Young once pulled a knife on House Speaker John  Boehner.

Yes, he did. You had to have been there, however.

In a long-form story that reads like a novella, Politico writer Tim Alberta gave the former House Speaker the mic — and then wrote the biggest political kiss-and-tell of the year. Boehner named names and dropped F bombs. It’s like reading a script from House of Cards, with Francis Underwood peeling back the layers on everything from earmarks to Obamacare.

And then it came time for Alberta to tell the story about Don Young:

“The funding of pet projects in lawmakers’ districts helped leadership to keep members in line, but fueled a culture of venality and waste; boondoggles like the ‘Bridge to Nowhere,’ a 2005 project calling for a $223 million earmark to construct a bridge to a remote, sparsely populated Alaska island, became symbols of congressional excess. Boehner never accepted an earmark in Congress—and he enjoyed railing against those who did. His heckling once provoked Don Young, an Alaskan himself, to pin Boehner against a wall inside the House chamber and hold a 10-inch knife to his throat. Boehner says he stared Young in the eyes and said, ‘Fuck you.’ (Young says this account is “mostly true,” but notes that the two became good friends, with Boehner later serving as his best man.)

We reached Young for a response, and here’s what he told us he had told Politico, but the quote evidently ended up on the cutting room floor:

“That’s mostly a true story, but it’s also one of those tall tales from the House floor. This was some of the friendly back and forth banter John and I had over a few decades, but it was never anything serious. Had it been, I’m sure you would’ve heard about it long before now. John actually loves this story, I’ve heard him tell it multiple times — once at my wedding in 2015 as my best man. Each and every time, that knife gets a little bigger and gets a little bit closer. One thing is true, the story always ends with an ‘F’ you,” Young said.

Full of quotes and disses about everyone from Harry Reid and Barack Obama to Mitt Romney and George W. Bush, it is filled with gravelly expletives and inside baseball that only political junkies will muscle through.

For those with too much time on their hands, the entire story is linked here.


  1. You can’t make this stuff, that’s for sure. Who does he think he is, Crocodile Dundee? ” That’s not a knife, this is a knife”

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