Heard on the Hill

Riding Shotgun: Steve Cohen’s 1986 Cadillac

Tennessee Democrat’s ride sports campaign stickers from his run for governor

Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen gives Capitol Police officers a peace sign as he drives his Cadillac on to the Capitol grounds. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Police officers know who can drive onto the Capitol grounds by the “115th Congress” plates displayed in their windshields.

But officers don’t need to look for Rep. Steve Cohen’s plate — they can see him coming.

The Tennessee Democrat drives a 1986 Cadillac dotted with campaign stickers from when he ran for governor and from a congressional race. Cohen took HOH along for a ride last week.

“I drive occasionally,” he said while heading back to the Rayburn House Office Building garage. “You used to be able to park right by the stairs, it was very simple. And the sergeant-at-arms somehow capitulated to somebody and stopped parking in front of the stairs.”

Watch: Cohen’s Car Stands Out

The car was his mother’s. He got it in 2004 when she was no longer able to drive, “and I’ve had it in D.C. as my D.C. car since ’06,” he said.

A friend drove it up to D.C. from his Memphis district, but other than that, it doesn’t make many long trips. The drive to work from where he lives in D.C. is “not long at all,” and the occasional ride to votes doesn’t put much mileage on it.

The car doesn’t have a modern audio system — unless you consider a cassette player modern — but it’s bearable because he spends so little time in it. The congressman will either listen to a Washington Nationals’ game on the radio or play Memphis tunes on his iPhone.

The car Cohen keeps in D.C. used to belong to his mother. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)
The car Cohen keeps in D.C. used to belong to his mother. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

But the congressman is more likely to use his iPhone to tweet about what’s going on in the White House. He’s open about his distaste for President Donald Trump and the administration’s policies.

“Well, there’s been a lot of things. I mean every day,” he said. “It’s like that song, ‘Every day I’ve got to cry some, wipe the waters from my eyes some.’” He added, “It’s just always dreadful.”

He pointed to the corner Trump backed himself into on immigration when he said that maybe his border wall, a signature campaign issue, didn’t have to be a literal wall.

“That was something else I saw on Twitter, it’s amazing — some people were going, ‘Oh, we’ve got to let him know that we’re not going to be for him if he goes back on his statement on the wall.’ So, he’s created his own hell,” Cohen said.

“There are several things you see every day. There’s things on Twitter you see, and they’re just kind of difficult to bear,” Cohen said.

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