Trey Radel returns to Capitol Hill after cocaine bust, treatment
January 7th, 2014
08:06 PM ET
3 months ago

Trey Radel returns to Capitol Hill after cocaine bust, treatment

(CNN) - U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Florida, returned to work on Capitol Hill Tuesday for the first time after pleading guilty to cocaine possession last November.

He repeatedly apologized for his actions and insisted he's not yet thinking about re-election to another term.

"I cannot express how sorry I am. I ask for your forgiveness. I've let down our entire country. I have let down my colleagues on both side of the aisle. I've let down my family," an emotional Radel said in a brief session with reporters in his office on Capitol Hill, his voice often halting.

Radel, who was known for his casual demeanor and his accessibility to reporters, appeared stoic and stuck with a serious message that he wanted to earn back his reputation, which was crushed by his bust in an undercover sting last fall.

The former television anchor avoided cameras and national media and made a brief statement inside his office, with his aides insisting his comments be off-camera.

"In front of a U.S. Representative's name, they often put the word 'honorable,' and I will work hard every day to restore that honor - rebuilding trust and making amends, with our country, my constituents, my colleagues, my wife and my 2-year-old."

Radel flatly declared that "re-election is the absolute last thing on my mind." But he'll need to address questions about his political future soon. According to the Tampa Bay Times, former state representative Paige Kreegel announced he will challenge Radel in the GOP primary in August.

Radel told reporters he hasn't talked to House Speaker John Boehner since he completed his treatment program for substance abuse in Florida, but he said he has a meeting scheduled with Boehner later this week.

Although he declined to detail his treatment plans while he is serving in Washington, Radel made several references suggesting he was participating in a 12-step program created by Alcoholics Anonymous. Although Radel was arrested for drug possession last fall, he said afterward that his bigger struggle was with alcohol abuse.

"I have an incredible network both at home and right here in Washington, and this is something I will continue to work on for the rest of my life. I will take it one day at a time, and in doing so, I hope to rebuild and regain trust one day at a time," Radel said.

CNN's Paul Courson contributed to this report

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Al-NY,NY

    did he mention his personal relationship and subsequent forgiveness from God??? Isn't that how all the GOP'ers curry favor and then reelection from the mindless masses of their herds of sheep?

    January 8, 2014 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  2. g

    booze drove him to drug use. fire the bum,jail time

    January 8, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    He should be subjected to urinalysis on a daily basis.

    January 8, 2014 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  4. just me

    Busted buying three grams and he does two weeks of rehab? lucky he's so pale.

    January 8, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    Thomas
    Is this kind of person you want in office ?
    --------------–

    No, Thomas. No it isn't. He has no problems with being in office though. Having forgiven himself, I suspect in his mind he is all cured now, and ready to go.

    January 8, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Speaker Boehner, this sort of behavior is fine? I thought you were going to hold your members to the highest ethical standards?

    January 8, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  7. GOP = Greed Over People

    What? No blather about how "human frailties" make our "faith in God stronger"! What about "God has forgiven and strengthened me"! Or, now "my journey is easier, now that God is closer to me"!

    I await, and hope, his next announcement is how he is resigning "to spend more time with my family"!

    Yep, the family that snorts together, stays together! You betcha'!

    January 8, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    tom l wrote:

    While I don't think that this guy should be in office and should resign you are out of your mind if you think someone should go to jail for buying cocaine for personal use. Does the name Patrick Kennedy ring a bell for you? Your comment demonstrates that you are not a serious thinker and nothing more than a partisan hack.
    --------------------
    There you go again, tom. Building another false equivalence, comparing apples to oranges. Kennedy had a problem with Ambien, not cocaine as your omission of the facts would seem to suggest. Radel was busted in a drug raid. No comparison.

    January 8, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. Malory Archer

    tom l

    @Marie
    "I am not even sure why this fool is not in jail for buying cocaine from an undercover policeman!"

    ====

    While I don't think that this guy should be in office and should resign you are out of your mind if you think someone should go to jail for buying cocaine for personal use. Does the name Patrick Kennedy ring a bell for you? Your comment demonstrates that you are not a serious thinker and nothing more than a partisan hack.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, except Patrick Kennedy was never busted for buying – whether in office or out of office. Can you say false equivalence?

    January 8, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  10. Malory Archer

    just me

    Busted buying three grams and he does two weeks of rehab? lucky he's so pale.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    That's an awful lot o blow for one individual. It's obvious he's an "experienced" user.

    January 8, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
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