Iowa governor Terry Branstad was hospitalized on Wednesday after choking on a carrot at a Los Angeles ceremony, but has now been released. The event was held for the re-dedication of the USS Iowa battleship, though very nearly took a fatal turn when the governor, 65, choked on the vegetable and vomited.
Spokesman Tim Albrecht confirmed Branstad had been taken to a nearby hospital and was put through a number of tests, before being discharged in good health. Albrecht said his boss had attended hospital “out of an overabundance of caution,” and revealed it was Branstad’s pride that probably came out worst:
“We’re glad he’s okay. He’s in great spirits. He’s probably a little more embarrassed than anything.”
The event was staged to honor the USS Iowa, a World War II-era warship that is being converted into a floating museum. The new attraction will open Saturday at the Port of Los Angeles. Both Branstad and his wife attended, along with a security detail.
They were joined by numerous other politicians, including Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Hundreds of veterans and former USS Iowa crew members also appeared.
The USS Iowa has a lengthy and prolific history. The vessel took part in both World War II and the Korean War, and has now been awarded by the Navy to a nonprofit group, who have created an interactive naval museum from the battleship.
Branstad was supposed to meet with an uncle who lives in the area after the ceremony had finished, only for a crunchy, orange villain to scupper his plans. Instead, he returned to Iowa on Thursday night.