WASHINGTON – A freshman Democratic lawmaker sent a hand-written note Wednesday night to a neighboring Republican congressman to apologize for the situation that erupted after his staff complained to U.S. Capitol Police about cigar smoke.
No word yet that Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison is sorry that his staff called the cops in the first place to complain that Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo's cigar was stinking up the hallway they share in the Longworth House Office Building.
Ellison "apologizes for the situation" because "it was so blown out of proportion," Carlos Espinosa, Tancredo’s press secretary, told FOX News.
Tancredo told FOX News on Thursday that he had only read the first portion of the Ellison letter because he was in a rush to get the House floor to speak about Iraq. He said he would discuss the note once he can fully review it after he returns from attending the funeral of Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., who died earlier this week after a long battle with cancer.
News of the complaint were first reported in Wednesday editions of The Hill newspaper. Ellison's staff called the police to snuff out Tancredo's cigar. Tancredo, who often relaxes with a cigar, is allowed to smoke in his office. The police officer told Ellison's people that, but for due diligence went to check on the smoke.
Rick Jauert, a spokesman for Ellison, said he made the call to complain about the smoke last week. He said he didn't think the complaint was worth the press it was getting.
"Good grief, we're talking war and peace in a historic debate this week and people are talking about cigar smoke?" Jauert told FOX News.
Jauert said he wasn't sure where the smoke was coming from and that the congressman didn't know that he had made the complaint.
Ellison suffers from asthma and people in his office are "highly sensitive" to second-hand smoke, Jauert said.
It was a "trivial little incident which resulted from the smoke permeating through the walls, which has happened a number of times," Jauert said.
The two lawmakers have neighboring offices on the first floor of the Longworth building, but have not met.
"It's very bizarre," Tancredo told the newspaper. "Seemed to me not a good way to say hello."
Asked if he would stop smoking in his office, Tancredo said, "Heck, no!"
"If he [Ellison] would have [had] the courtesy to say something I'm sure I would have been more accommodating to his wishes."
The complaint follows a decree last month by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that banned smoking in the Speaker's Lobby, a lounge off the floor of the House and one of the original sites to earn the designation of a smoke-filled back room.
Asked about the police complaint on Tancredo, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., told FOX News: "We would never do that over here in the Senate."
FOX News' Molly Hooper contributed to this report.