Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., caught the new nickname after the House Democrat committee chairs gathered for their regular Zoom conference, where those members who can remain awake discuss their plans for guiding the House and governing the nation, the New York Post reported.
But Nadler could not keep himself among the wakeful chairpersons, and he drifted into Jerryland.
A Democrat staffer who attended the Zoom meeting awarded Nadler with the upgraded diminutive.
“He was Rock-A-Bye Baby,” the staffer said. “The meetings are usually half an hour and he was out for about 15 minutes.”
The aide said that nobody cares about his sleeping habits anymore. No one tries to rouse him from his embarassing slumbers.
“It’s just a known thing,” the staffer said about Nadler’s sleeping on the job.
Nadler has many health problems in addition to a chronic drowsiness that sometimes seems to border on the narcoleptic.
A 75-year-old man who was morbidly obese for years, he received gastric bypass surgery in 2002. He decided on surgery when he could no longer use New York City’s subway system.
Also, his wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer—a virtual death sentence in old age—and the suffering from that can spiritually and physically drain a person.
Nadler’s long-standing health issues and aging body and mind should have led him to retirement a few years ago, meaning that Democrats will probably run him for another five terms.
He has only been in the House for 30 years, and he won a competitive primary this year that proved he can remain an immovable force in the House for years to come.
But the impromptu naps likely will not stop.
“Staff regularly have to wake him up during hearings,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.
Though hard to believe, one Democrat staffer said that 89-year-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein does better in hearings than Nadler does.
“I don’t think it’s like Dianne Feinstein,” the staffer said. “You can just tell he’s not … as engaged with others.”