U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise lost his title of House majority whip last week, along with the power that comes with it. One more price the Jefferson Parish Republican paid after the Democrats retook control of the chamber is the loss of his former post’s trappings.
Scalise’s old job came with an enviable office suite just off Statuary Hall, where he loved to host dignitaries and visiting constituents, and occasionally served up some enticing Louisiana grub. He christened the main space the “Lincoln Room” because the entrance sits near the spot where Abraham Lincoln sat as a one-term member before the House moved to its current quarters, and because the future president reportedly spent some time there getting away from it all.
The House passed a resolution just before Christmas making the “Lincoln Room” designation permanent, but the person now doing the hosting is the new majority whip, Democrat Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. Scalise, now minority whip, moved to a different office, this one once used by fellow Louisianan and onetime majority leader Hale Boggs.
In the meantime, current Louisiana colleague Cedric Richmond may be visiting Scalise’s old digs just as regularly as he used to. Richmond and Scalise have a well-known bipartisan friendship, and Scalise even had a photo of the pair on his wall. Of course, the picture was of Scalise scoring for the Republicans in the annual Congressional baseball game, after Richmond, the Democrats’ ace, threw a wild pitch.
Clyburn recently named Richmond to the new position of assistant to the majority whip, which means the New Orleans Democrat will surely remain a regular guest. In fact, Clyburn has long been a mentor to Richmond, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising if a photo of him still finds a place on the suite’s wall. Somehow I think it wouldn't be the same one.