Photograph by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
Trent Lott, the Republican Senator from Mississippi, stepped down as
majority leader in 2002 after praising Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina
on his 100th birthday. Lott said that if the country had followed the lead of
Thurmond, who ran for president in 1948 as a member of the States’ Rights Party,
which favored segregation, “we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the
years.” Four years later, Lott regained a leadership position before retiring
from office to become a lobbyist.