U.S. Representative Aaron Schock, who became more famous for his abdominal muscles and “Downton Abbey”-style office decor than for his legislative accomplishments, on Thursday cited God, the Bible and Abraham Lincoln in his farewell to Congress.
The 33-year-old Illinois Republican, first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008, had just cast his final vote as he resigns from Congress, ending – at least for now – what had been called a promising political career.
Schock is under investigation by federal law enforcement authorities for possible illegal use of campaign funds, according to media reports and some fellow lawmakers.
Earlier this year, he also attracted attention when The Washington Post wrote about Schock’s opulent redecoration of his congressional office in the style of the popular British television show “Downton Abbey.”
“I leave here with sadness and humility,” he said in a House floor speech on his resignation. “I know that God has a plan for my life,” he said, as he quoted “the Good Book.”
Nearly 170 years ago, Abraham Lincoln, before becoming president, was elected to the Illinois congressional seat that Schock is vacating.
Invoking Lincoln, Schock noted he also faced adversity and setbacks, adding: “His continual perseverance in the face of these trials, never giving up, is something all of us Americans should be inspired by … especially when going through a valley in life.”
Schock, who some had viewed as a rising star in the House Republican ranks despite a thin legislative record, was featured in 2011 on the cover of Men’s Health magazine displaying “political muscle,” with abdominals that the magazine said made him “America’s fittest congressman.”
(Reporting by Richard Cowan; editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and G Crosse)