Resigning Rep. Aaron SchockAaron Jon SchockNew co-chairs named for congressional caucus for millennials Former GOP Rep. Aaron Schock comes out as gay Now that Aaron Schock is 'out,' he can be a powerful LGBTQ ally MORE (R-Ill.) on Thursday delivered his farewell address, saying that he was leaving Congress with "sadness and humility" and vowing to make amends to his constituents and colleagues.
The Illinois Republican, who became known for his infamous Instagram account and shirtless appearance on the cover of Men's Health magazine, struck a humble tone in his speech as he hinted at controversies over excessive spending of federal dollars.
"I was never more excited than the day I walked into this chamber six years ago. I leave here with sadness and humility," Schock said on the House floor.
"For those whom I've let down, I will work tirelessly to make it up to you."
Schock, 33, then compared himself to President Abraham Lincoln as he talked about the challenges ahead.
"Abraham Lincoln held this seat in Congress for one term. But few faced as many defeats in his personal business and public life as he did. 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 said.
Schock will officially resign next Tuesday, March 31, under an ethics cloud. But the House left town Thursday afternoon for the two-week spring recess, not to return until April 13. Consequently, Thursday marked Schock's last day of House votes.
The revelations included decorating his Capitol Hill office in the style of the PBS show "Downton Abbey," which announced Thursday it was ending its run, and having taxpayers reimburse him for 170,000 miles on his personal car that only had 80,000 miles on it upon its sale in 2014.
Schock appeared to skip over House floor rules on his last day of votes as he participated in a group photo and brought a hot drink. House rules prohibit photography in the chamber, as well as eating or drinking.
Heading into his last vote series, Schock had his iPhone pressed to his ear and ignored questions from a reporter from The Hill.
Colleagues came over to shake Schock's hand and give hugs to bid him farewell. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) kissed him on the cheek as she made her way out of the House chamber.
Then Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) snapped a group photo on his cellphone of Schock and a group of colleagues on the House floor, in violation of chamber decorum. And in a second apparent disregard of House rules, Schock also held a coffee cup. He did not appear to drink from it, however.
Schock later sat in the front row by himself as he waited to deliver his farewell address.
He finished his remarks on an optimistic note.
"I believe that through life's struggles, we learn from our mistakes and we learn more about ourselves. And I know that this is not the end of a story, but rather the beginning of a new chapter," Schock concluded.
The chamber was nearly empty by the time Schock departed. But the sleeve from Schock's coffee cup — which he wasn't supposed to bring into the chamber in the first place — remained abandoned on the floor near the dais.
Three lawmakers, Reps. Jason Smith (R-Mo.), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), waited in the back of the chamber for the end of Schock's speech and gave him hugs.
Sanford, no stranger to scandal himself, clapped Schock on the back.
Schock's last vote was on a rare moment of Congress enacting entitlement reform: a bipartisan, permanent repeal of automatic cuts Medicare reimbursement payments to doctors.
Scott Wong contributed.
Updated at 2:24 p.m.