The Unexpected Celebrity of Adam Schiff

“I have to go get a photo of Adam!”

A young woman in dark glasses, a tan trench coat and a lavender bucket hat darts into the street and runs after the white Porsche convertible in which Representative Adam Schiff and his wife are slowly being driven through Chinatown as part of the Lunar New Year’s parade in Los Angeles. Planting herself several feet in front of the car, the woman snaps some pics and then calls out to the passing House member, “Thank you for all that you do!”

As she heads back toward her friends, I try to stop her, asking why she is a fan of Mr. Schiff, who is running for the Senate to succeed Dianne Feinstein, who died in office last September at age 90. The woman keeps moving but gushes, with a hint of perplexity suggesting I’m an idiot for having to ask: “Everybody loves him! My mother-in-law in Madison, Wisconsin, loves him! He’s done so much!”

Credit…Jake Michaels for The New York Times

And with that, she melts back into the crowd, not bothering to elaborate on what it is that Mr. Schiff has done. Not that she needs to. Around his home state — and beyond — the 12-term Democrat has achieved bona fide celebrity status thanks to his emergence as a prime antagonist of Donald Trump.

As the House member who spearheaded Mr. Trump’s first impeachment, who played a key role in the Jan. 6 select committee and who has served as a top Trump critic on cable news, Mr. Schiff has been vilified across the MAGAverse. He has earned no fewer than three puerile nicknames from the former president: Pencil Neck, Liddle’ Adam Schiff and, my favorite, Shifty Schiff. More seriously, House Republicans booted him from the intelligence committee early last year and later censured him for his role in the Russia investigation, claiming he advanced politically motivated lies about Mr. Trump that endangered national security. All this, in turn, has made Mr. Schiff a hero to the anti-Trump masses.

At multiple points along the parade route, in fact, people yell their gratitude and encouragement. “Keep it up!” urges Chris (first name only!), a tour guide visiting from Tampa, raising a fist in salute.

Related Articles

Back to top button