THE POLITICO: The announcement took Capitol Hill by surprise because Lott, the former majority leader, seemed to be relishing his job as minority whip, the second-ranking GOP leadership job. He had regained a post in leadership after he resigned following racially insensitive remarks at a birthday party for the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.).
A Lott friend said part of the reason, and a factor in the timing, is a new lobbying regulation, signed by President Bush in September, extending the existing lobbying ban for former members of Congress from one to two years. The lobbying ban takes effect at the end of this year. By resigning before the end of this year, Lott will also be able to cash out with a lobbying job before new lobbying laws kick in and require a two-year wait before he can become a lobbyist. MORE
THE GUARDIAN: Before his Senate job, Lott served in the House, where he worked closely with other young conservatives, including Georgia’s Newt Gingrich, and showed his party loyalty by defending President Nixon at 1974 impeachment hearings. In 1981 he became the Republican whip, responsible for vote counting and making sure members toe the party line.
“What I want to tell you…Ladies and Gentlemen…That there’s not enough troops in the Army…to force the southern people to break down segregation and admit the nigger race into our theatres, into our swimming pools, into our homes and into our churches.”
— Strom Thurman, 1948
“When Strom Thurman ran for president, we voted for him! We’re proud of it! And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all of these problems over all of these years either.”
— Trent Lott, December, 2002
“If we had elected this man 30 years ago, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are today.”
— Trent Lott, 1980