View from the gallery: Senators suffer through sniffles and sleepiness at Trump trial

Todd Ruger, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

Cellphones, banned from the Senate along with other electronics, began to make an appearance in the chamber.

As the senators returned from dinner, South Dakota Republican John Thune was among those seen with the contraband. A senior aide reminded him of the rule, so he quickly went to the Cloakroom to stash it.

As for the public gallery, there was a bit of what the Capitol Police might call a situation.

A visitor got through unusually tight security and into the gallery without surrendering his cellphone Friday afternoon, but a doorkeeper caught the offender: former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

At about 4:30 p.m., the erstwhile GOP senator from Tennessee was seated in the second row of the third-floor gallery reserved for senators and special guests when a doorkeeper came down the staircase and checked to see if he had electronics.

As a former senator, Frist was exempt from the usual security protocols that include going through a magnetometer. Frist handed over a device that appeared to be a cellphone, and the doorkeeper returned minutes later with a coat check card.


Glasses of milk and the media fascination with them were, sigh, still a thing.

At around 4:15 p.m., Iowa Republican Joni Ernst ordered a glass of milk from a page. When it was delivered to her desk, Ernst looked up to the press gallery and flashed a thumbs-up and a big smile.

Sitting next to Ernst was Arizona Republican Martha McSally, who muffled a laugh and to McSally's right Missouri Republican Josh Hawley, too, flashed a smile.

The chamber received its first milk delivery roughly a half hour into Friday's proceedings, to West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin III.


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