Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) cleaned up his staff’s mess Wednesday by taking an ABC News crew into his flashy new office on Capitol Hill, days after photos of his lavish decor went viral.
On Monday, Schock’s staff reportedly tried to quash a Washington Post story on the office makeover. The bright red walls enticed Post reporter Ben Terris into the congressman’s outer office, and he was even more intrigued when a woman at the front desk told him the decor was inspired by the British period drama “Downton Abbey.”
But Schock’s staff made it clear to Terris that they weren’t happy he snapped photos of the space during his brief tour with the congressman’s interior designer. Terris went ahead and released the images anyway.
Schock tried to set the record straight before taking ABC’s Jeff Zeleny into the new office. He said he’d never seen an episode of “Downton Abbey,” nor did he commission the office revamp around the PBS show.
So why the bold new office look?
“Well, I’ve never been an old crusty white guy. I’m different. I came to Congress at 27,” Schock told Zeleny. “When I go take a personal vacation I don’t sit on the beach, I go do active things. And so, I’m also not going to live in a cave. So when I post an Instagram photo with me and my friends, you know –as Taylor Swift said, ‘haters are gonna hate.’”
For the record, Schock also said he intended to pay for the decorations as soon as he gets an invoice from the interior designer.
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Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.