-- Sen. Trent Lott (Miss.), in his first public remarks since resigning as Senate Republican leader, said today that he had fallen into a "trap" set by his political enemies and had "only myself to blame."
Lott became the focus of a controversy for his remarks 21/2 weeks ago praising Sen. Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist run for president.
Asked in an interview with the Associated Press whether he was disappointed in a lack of support from President Bush, Lott said: "I don't think there's any use in trying to say I'm disappointed in anybody or anything. An inappropriate remark brought this down on my head."
He added: "A lot of people in Washington have been trying to nail me for a long time. When you're from Mississippi and you're a conservative and you're a Christian, there are a lot of people that don't like that. I fell into their trap and so I have only myself to blame."
He wouldn't name those political enemies.
Later today, a police bomb squad was called to Lott's home in a false alarm after a passerby left a box on his mailbox. Written in black marker on the box was: "We always knew you were a hypocrite, Trent. Thanks for setting Mississippi back another 50 years."
Police found no explosives.
The woman who left the box, Mary Davis, grew up in Pascagoula. She teaches elementary school in Maryland but was in town for the holidays. She said that even in Lott's hometown, where he has had a lot of support, many residents feel the same way she does.