Aaron Schock was the first millennial to serve in Congress, and he lived up to every unfortunate stereotype we have of that generation.
Schock (R-Ill.), born in 1981 and elected at age 27, seemed far more interested in documenting his surfing trips and glacier hikes on Instagram, or redecorating his office in an homage to “Downton Abbey,” than actually, you know, doing his job. He has 18,200 more followers on Instagram than he had successful bills. (He sponsored a total of zero bills that became law during his three-plus terms in Congress.)
What no one realized until the past few months was that Schock, now 33, was apparently mooching off donors and taxpayers all along.
The Illinois Icarus’s career began to melt in the wake of a Washington Post report about his “Downton” office — the designer did the work pro bono, liberal watchdog groups said that was an inappropriate gift, and Schock ended up paying $40,000 for it out of his personal finances. He also had to repay taxpayers $1,200 for a private flight he took to a Chicago Bears game. And he was getting uncomfortable questions about billing the government for 170,000 miles on his private car between 2010 and 2014 — despite the fact that when he sold the car, it had only 80,000 miles on the odometer. Whoops!
Schock’s resignation, when it came Tuesday, left almost no mark on the Congress where he spent the past six years — or roughly one-fifth of his life. The reason? He seemed to view his congressional seat as a launching pad to become a brand in broader popular culture. Congress won’t miss him, because he was never really there in the first place.
Aaron Schock, for promoting the notion that we shouldn’t trust anyone under 35, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Each week, Chris Cillizza awards the worst week in Washington to an inhabitant of Planet Beltway who stands out for all the wrong reasons. You can check out previous winners or e-mail Cillizza with candidates. You can also read more from Outlook and follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter.