Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) is a huge Downton Abbey fan. So huge, in fact, that he hired a decorator to design his Capitol Hill office into an exact replica of one of the show’s sets, reported The Washington Post.
When Washington Post reporter Ben Terris discovered the remodeled office, what ensued turned out to be a huge production.
Terris happened to run into Annie Brahler, the interior decorator who designed Schock’s office and owner of the design company, Euro Trash. While Brahler was showing Terris around, Terris began taking pictures and then Benjamin Cole, Schock’s communications director, called.
“Are you taking pictures of the office?” asked Cole. “Who told you you could do that? . . . Okay, stay where you are. You’ve created a bit of a crisis in the office.”
One of Schock’s staffers then approached Terris and demand the photos be deleted. This is where the story gets really weird. Why would Schock’s staff get so nervous about the way the Illinois congressman decorated his office? Did he appropriate the money used for the design in an illegal or questionable way?
Staffers then tried to bribe Terris when an “exclusive” one-on-one with Schock in exchange for his silence about the Downton Abbey “red room” decorated office.
“You’ve got a member [of Congress] willing to talk to you about other things,” said Cole. “Why sour it by rushing to write some gossipy piece? . . . He’s happy to talk to you, just not about the office. I’m really sorry and want you to know this is not fun for me.”
Cole further tried to cover his tracks by calling Terris back and saying he didn’t know if Schock even watched Downton Abbey. The whole thing is just very strange and if staffers are going to get nervous about office decor, what is underneath the surface?