WASHINGTON — The mood in the great hall of the National Museum of Women in the Arts was a festive one even before former Gov. Sonny Perdue swept through with his cousin, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, and a phalanx of aides on a cloudy January evening.
Hundreds of black tie-clad Georgians were assembled there to toast Donald Trump on the eve of his inauguration. But the undisputed star was the state’s former Republican governor, who was announced as Trump’s secretary of agriculture pick earlier that day.
Attendees, many who had known Perdue for years, lined up to shake his hand, wish him well — and perhaps curry favor.
After decades in Georgia politics, Perdue and Tom Price — the Roswell congressman who was absent that evening but has since been confirmed to lead the Department of Health and Human Services — are well-known commodities in the state. But their new national profiles bring a fresh set of circumstances to which they must adjust: immense power, yes, but also higher levels of attention and scrutiny from the press, a relentless schedule and an outsized boss to boot.
“It’s very intense,” former Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said of his experience getting nominated and serving in President George W. Bush’s Cabinet. “Once a nomination is made there just aren’t enough hours in the day.”
In other words, welcome to life in the D.C. bubble.
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