A lot of people have spending more time cooking at home recently, so Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia decided to join in on the fun and post a cooking demo on Instagram. He called his dish the "tuna melt extraordinaire" — but the general public is calling it something else.
On Sunday, Warner demonstrated how to transform canned tuna into a tuna melt using a (to put it politely) very unconventional method. Wearing a crisp button-down and khaki slacks, Warner started by squeezing massive glops of mayonnaise onto white bread and then forked the tuna directly on top of the fish.
He didn't take a second to drain the can's juices, nor did he gently flake the fish with a fork. He didn't even bother to mix it with anything — not even salt and pepper. Then, the self-proclaimed "two cheese kinda guy" topped the fish with cheddar slices, closed the sandwich with another piece of bread and nuked it.
Aside from washing his hands thoroughly for 30 seconds while his sandwich cooked, Warner did little to impress viewers. The viral video disrupted social media with a fusillade of disgusted comments from Virginians, Americans, his colleagues in the Senate and plenty of media outlets.
On Instagram, the senator's technique and end result were widely panned.
"That is one hot mess. There isn’t a single thing right about this sandwich. Good effort, though. Thanks for the laugh," said one commenter.
"Gotta agree with some of my fellow citizens here Senator — that was pretty basic. No seasoning. No blending the Tuna and mayonnaise," added another.
The reactions were even more brutal on Twitter. Some tweeters announced they wouldn't even feed the melt to their pets.
Others turned to Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist's reaction to explain, well, all their feelings.
"Top Chef" host Tom Colicchio, who has also been sharing some tasty recipes during the pandemic, couldn't take it and ordered Warner to "pack his knives"
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker told his colleague that the prolific use of the creamy condiment might just cause a mayo shortage in the state of Virginia.
More of Warner's democratic colleagues stepped in to help. California Sen. Kamala Harris took it upon herself to give Warner a cooking lesson. During her demo, she highlighted the beauty of draining the fishy water and adding accoutrements like crisp lettuce, seasonings and Dijon mustard.
However, it turns out Warner might not be such a newbie in the kitchen after all. In addition to the telling mortar and pestle visible in the background of his video, Warner helped renovate a historic restaurant in Virginia as an investor, the Washington Post reported. James Beard Award nominated chef Cathal Armstrong, who has cooked for Warner "hundreds" of times, even told the newspaper that the senator has "a great palate and great taste."
So, was there be more to Warner's unsavory cooking demo than just his nostalgia for a mushy, microwaved sandwich?
On Wednesday, Warner tweeted out an unexpected twist.
"If I can get enough retweets for my plan with @BernieSanders @SenDougJones & @SenBlumenthal to guarantee paychecks for every rank-and-file worker in America (including restaurant workers), I promise to never make you people watch me cook another tuna melt," Warner wrote.
The Paycheck Security Act Warner referred to is a program with bipartisan backing that would "cover the wages and benefits of employees of affected businesses and nonprofits until the public health crisis is resolved."
Whether Warner's terrible cooking demo is leverage for getting more retweets about his new proposal to help workers or just some dry humor about one very moist meal, he might be having the last laugh with his now-viral moment.