In the Beginning

Newly Elected Leader Lott Meets the Press

Posted January 3, 2003 at 12:31pm

New Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) holds his first “dugout” press conference with reporters in this June 18, 1996, photo. Lott ascended to the Majority Leader post in June 1996 when then-Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.), who had served more than 11 years as GOP leader, stepped down after he secured the party’s presidential nomination. Lott, who has led the GOP in the Senate ever since, stepped down as Majority Leader on Dec. 20, 2002, amid a firestorm over comments he made about retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond’s (R-S.C.) 1948 presidential campaign on the segregationist Dixiecrat ticket. Senate Republicans picked Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist to be their new leader during a Dec. 23 conference call.