Heard on the Hill

No one told the New England delegation it was cafeteria lobster week

Mainer who brought us the lobster emoji misses out on crustacean grilled cheese

Sen. Angus King is the man who brought us the lobster emoji. But he was out of the lobster loop on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Maine independent Angus King did not try the lobster grilled cheese that was on the menu at the Dirksen Senate Office Building cafeteria this week.

“I didn’t even know about it. My staff will be severely reprimanded,” the senator told Heard on the Hill.

The offering is the “specialty sandwich,” priced between $6 and $8, according to the menu.

King has a lobster-loving reputation to uphold. In 2017 he led a charge to add a lobster emoji to smartphones, which was successful. Users can now text and tweet the crustacean that’s the pride of Maine.

King’s staffers aren’t the only ones who let a Mainer down.

Republican Susan Collins flashed a smile on Thursday when asked about the lobster sandwich. She wasn’t sure if Heard on the Hill was joking with this line of questioning.

“Really?” she said. “I didn’t even know about it.” 

When he heard about the lobster offering, Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse looked shocked and excited.

“What?!”

All three New Englanders hopped the Senate subway in the direction of Dirksen, where they could try the delicacy for themselves.

While digital signs in Dirksen are promoting the lobster sandwich special as available starting July 15, a source told HOH that it was available today and the online menu shows it being offered this week. It’s unclear if the lobster sandwich will be served again, but the lawmakers may have another chance when the Senate returns next week.

King, Collins and Whitehouse are used to thinking big when it comes to seafood. They’re all regular co-sponsors of an annual resolution to designate a “National Lobster Day.”

But it’s not sweet as lobster meat for Maine lobster fisherman this year, and the senators have raised the alarm. In June, the Maine delegation wrote to President Donald Trump about the impact of the ongoing trade war with China on the lobster industry in their state.

“One of the first victims of retaliation imposed by China after the initial round of tariffs was lobster shipped from Maine,” they wrote.

From the archives: At the Table with Angus King

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