Few in Washington have come to the defense of Rep. Kevin Yoder, the Kansas Republican who took a skinny-dip in the Sea of Galilee during an official visit to Israel. The flesh-baring swim earned him a rebuke from House leaders and forced him to grovel a bit.
But he got some support from the American Association for Nude Recreation ( “The credible voice of reason for nude recreation since 1931”). “Congressman Yoder is a typical American who enjoys skinny-dipping,” the AANR said in a press release.
The nudist lobby says Yoder’s antics have brought attention to skinny-dipping and may help their cause of promoting nude recreation. “Overall, the reaction’s been mostly positive,” says Tom Mulhall, the AAN’s public relations chairman and the owner of Terra Cotta Inn, a clothing-optional resort in Palm Springs. “A lot of people are saying ‘big deal, so he went skinny-dipping!’”
The AAN’s release listed American presidents who’ve enjoyed a nude splash: John Quincy Adams, Teddy Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush (Bush’s supposed bare romp was technically in a sauna, not a body of water, but we’re not quibbling). “President Johnson even went skinny-dipping while in office with evangelist Billy Graham,” they say.