Trey Radel to resign from Congress
January 27th, 2014
09:24 AM ET
8 months ago

Trey Radel to resign from Congress

Updated 10:58 a.m. ET, 1/27/2014

Washington (CNN) - U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, the Florida Republican who pleaded guilty to cocaine possession last November, will resign from Congress on Monday, he wrote in a resignation letter to House Speaker John Boehner.

Radel was caught buying cocaine from an undercover federal agent in Washington and spent nearly a month in a substance abuse program in Florida.

"Unfortunately, some of my struggles had serious consequences," he said in the letter. "While I have dealt with those issues on a personal level, it is my belief that professionally I cannot fully and effectively serve as a United States Representative to the place I love and call home, Southwest Florida."

His resignation is effective as of 6:30 p.m. ET, Monday.

Upon returning to Capitol Hill this month, Radel apologized for his actions and insisted he was 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 sides 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 the 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."

Although he declined to detail his treatment plans, Radel made several references suggesting he was participating in an Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program. Although he 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," he said.

Radel represents Florida's 19th Congressional District, a solidly Republican district that stretches along the Gulf Coast from Fort Myers south to Naples and Marco Island. He was already facing a primary challenge from a former state lawmaker in August's GOP primary, and other Republicans were expressing interest in the seat.

It's up to the state's GOP governor, Rick Scott, to decide when a special election will be held.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Chris Frates contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • Florida
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wrong, Fair. Romney was asked if he use a crisis against Obama in the way Reagan did against Carter. Romney drew a modern day comparison to the nuclear program when he suddenly changed course in mid-sentence...to answer the question he was asked.

    "It's really a, but…by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity."

    You have a serious problem, Fair. Me
    -------------------------------------------------
    "You have a serious problem, Fair. Me"
    Well said Rudy.
    Quite so.

    January 27, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. iceload

    "I've let down our entire country." No you didn't Trey, we didn't even know you existed till you got caught.

    January 27, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. Wake up People!

    Oh Judy, trust me, they didn't forget to mention it. They chose not to. They must advance the GOP agenda at all times. I'm still looking for that liberal media we hear so much about.... Must be out interviewing unicorns......

    January 27, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. cwiz

    Now if only the rest would resign...

    January 27, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Fair is Fair

    "You have a serious problem, Fair. Me."
    ------
    And as long as you feel it necessary to lie, you will have ME calling you out at every turn.

    January 27, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I've let down our entire country." No you didn't Trey, we didn't even know you existed till you got caught
    -------------------------------------------------
    That's definitely true, especially for those of us outside of Florida.

    January 27, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Inciteful

    Enough already! There should be a one-time, 30-day amnesty period for elected officials to step forward and admit to crimes they have committed and/or are committing. After that 30 days, any illegal activity should carry a 20-year minimum jail term (regardless of the offense – akin to 3-strike law) in the prison system in the state they represent. We need to rid our government at all levels of prospective criminals.

    January 27, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. JACKCANDOBUTWONT

    Drug possession and conviction did not hurt Marion Barry's career…Oh wait, Marion is a Democrat…that is different…they play by a different set of rules.

    January 27, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda Minnesota
    Hey, there. I see what you're doing and I appreciate your encouragement
    -------------------------------------------------
    You know me too well then. Wink!
    In your own time my friend...in your own time. And if not, oh well. Let's face facts here, at our age life's short, pleasures are few!
    Meanwhile, we got a break from the polar vortex (or whatever) today, but we'll be right back in the teens tomorrow.
    In other words we can't help you here in the East!

    January 27, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. sly

    "Funny how CNN forgot to mention that Radel wanted to drug test people who applied for welfare and unemployment but he's a drug user himself."
    =======
    Like most Confederate Republicans this rich white male has no morals, no ethics, cheats, lies, he'll do anything for a dollar.

    I doubt there is a such thing as an honest Republican – each week we get a new resignation.

    January 27, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    Copping blow from an undercover warrants jail time. It's not like he got it from chico on the block. He brought it from a cop in the middle of a sting. How stupid can you be?

    January 27, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Fair is Fair

    "You have a serious problem, Fair. Me."
    --
    And as long as you feel it necessary to lie, you will have ME calling you out at every turn.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Except that he wasn't lying Fair and he proved it with his quote.
    It is malicious of you to state that Rudy lied when he did not.
    It appears, Fair, that you have more than ONE problem.

    January 27, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Stu in Iowa

    Did we just lose our last moderate Republican?

    January 27, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Malory Archer

    JACKCANDOBUTWONT

    Drug possession and conviction did not hurt Marion Barry's career…Oh wait, Marion is a Democrat…that is different…they play by a different set of rules.

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

    Yeah, except Marion Barry wasn't busted purchasing illicit drugs and instead was vidoetaped USING crack – AND he went to prison. Additionally, he was a local politician serving on City Coucil, not representing his constituents on a national level, and local politicians usually aren't held to the same standards.

    January 27, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. chaing

    One of many who have a 'dark side' in Washington. The land of entitlement, greed, corruption and lies. And of course when caught are "very sorry".......not for what they did so much as they are so sad they got caught and are embarrassed.

    January 27, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. Bill Davis

    Charlie Rangle would never quit.

    January 27, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @JACKCANDOBUTWONT
    Drug possession and conviction did not hurt Marion Barry's career…Oh wait, Marion is a Democrat…that is different…they play by a different set of rules.

    Wrong again Scooter. Democrats Spitzer and Weiner resigned. Republicans Vitter and Sanford stuck around.

    January 27, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    DM4O wrote:

    "And as long as you feel it necessary to lie, you will have ME calling you out at every turn."

    Except that he wasn't lying Fair and he proved it with his quote.
    It is malicious of you to state that Rudy lied when he did not.
    It appears, Fair, that you have more than ONE problem.
    ---------------------------–
    Arguing with Fair is harder than arguing against facts. Forget about it.
    Fair has been trying to build this "liar" narrative against me for quite a long time.

    January 27, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. danomite

    Must be time to powder his nose again.

    January 27, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the Repub/tea bag majority

    "Unfortunately, some of my struggles had serious consequences,"

    YA THINK?

    January 27, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. Burbank

    He looks a bit like Al Gore in that picture.

    January 27, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. jack

    One less Republican we have to worry about in Congress representing the Florida state............

    January 27, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. FedUpwithLA

    At last, a politician with some integrity. But, it looks like he isn't a politician any more. Congratulations, Mr Radel!

    January 27, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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