Sen. Mark Warner looked to bring some levity to the public amid the coronavirus outbreak by sharing a cooking tutorial this week – but even some of his colleagues decried his culinary choice as fishy and heavy-handed.
The Virginia Democrat took to Instagram this week with a video of how to make a tuna melt – a polarizing choice among many sandwich aficionados – that doubled as a handwashing tutorial.
Warner’s culinary creation begins with two slices of untoasted bread that he promptly coats with a heaping layer of mayonnaise, noting that “I love mayo. I know my kids hate mayo, but make sure you get plenty on both sides.”
After that, an undrained can of tuna is arranged in an “even and appropriate” way on one slice of bread, and two slices of cheese are placed on the other piece of bread, with Warner identifying as a “two-slice man” with a penchant for medium cheddar.
Then the sandwich spends 30 seconds in the microwave – “enough time to wash our hands,” Warner says. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged the public to take up frequent handwashing for 20 seconds to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“Remember to wash our hands for close to 20 seconds, as we all know. … Make sure we’ve got no germs, none of the virus,” he says before the microwave beeps.
“I can’t get my wife and kids to eat these anymore but I tell you, on a coronavirus day, nothing hits the spot more than a tuna melt,” Warner says after a bite of his self-described “tuna melt extraordinaire.”
“I know these are challenging times. I hope you’ll maybe be willing to try a tuna melt,” he says. “We will get through this, Virginia. We will get through this, America, when we go back to basics.”
Lawmakers were quick to express their shock and disgust at Warner’s recipe.
“I’ve learned a lot of things from my senior senator, but I’m proud to say cooking isn’t one of them,” Warner’s fellow Virginian Sen. Tim Kaine tweeted Wednesday.
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California quipped, “Mark—we need to talk. Call. Please. Your friend KDH.”
Harris later shared a video of her own tuna melt tutorial on her Instagram story, teasing Warner while demonstrating that “it’s amazing, (the tuna will) just sit in the can while you drain the water out.”
Rep. Don Beyer, after lamenting Warner’s untoasted bread, undrained tuna and heavy mayonnaise, did praise him for highlighting good handwashing technique.
“Good job washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water,” the Virginia Democrat tweeted Wednesday, “it’s the most important thing!”
This story has been updated with Sen. Kamala Harris posting her own Instagram tutorial.
CNN’s Jessica Campisi contributed to this report.