Trey Radel to resign from Congress
January 27th, 2014
09:24 AM ET
11 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. LJ

    Blah, Blah, Blah. Ok some guy gets caught with cocaine In his possession because he has a drug problem. Resign as you should, but isn't Marijuana a drug too? So in a liberal world, its ok to get high on Marijuana but not cocaine? Why?

    January 27, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. Malory Archer

    LJ

    Blah, Blah, Blah. Ok some guy gets caught with cocaine In his possession because he has a drug problem. Resign as you should, but isn't Marijuana a drug too? So in a liberal world, its ok to get high on Marijuana but not cocaine? Why?

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

    Anyone caught with weed in their possession IN states where it isn't legal would also be subject to penalties. What's your point? Fixed it for myself!

    January 27, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. don in albuquerque

    Read an interview with the Sheriff of Lee County. That would be Radels district. He was described as an outspoken Republican and just one of the many things he ripped Radel on was...This guy can't even drive a school bus here, but its okay to be a rep?

    January 27, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    -Stuffitu

    Democrat liberal "progressives" don't resign. They play the race card and blame Fox when their dirty deeds are brought to light like their corrupt president.
    ******************
    Name one who has done that, please. Still struggling with the ideal that Obama got re-elected, WiredWierdinSF?

    January 27, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    -The REAL Truth...

    @Chris – Republicans usually force their people out when they commit crimes, democrats promote them to leadership positions.
    ----------–
    The reality is that Dem's usually end up in jail.. the GOP usually move to another state and get re-elected. No jail time.
    ******************
    Or Roger Ailes offers them a job.

    January 27, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Wake up People!

    So according to Chris... We.iner is mayor of NYC?? What say ye Rudy??

    January 27, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    "I've let down our entire country."
    --------------------–
    Your biggest disservice was not getting busted, but conspiring with Republican leadership to cover it up until after the election.

    January 27, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. mungo

    Give the dope head a break. He's from Florida where cocaine is less dangerous then popcorn or skittles

    January 27, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  9. conoclast

    Hard drugs in the US House of Representatives?? No mention as to whether he is a 'bagger caucus member, not that that would be any surprise at all!

    Laws, rules & reg's are for the serfdom and do not apply to its "lawmakers" - oh, but look! They DO!

    January 27, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. S.B. Stein

    It took too long for this to happen. He knows the rules and should have been centured by the House within a day of the news. Why isn't Boehner doing anything to hurry this along? Will he end up in jail when he is no longer a member of the House? I wonder what he will be doing after this resignation besides hiding from the press and his constituents.

    January 27, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. mercfan

    @ Chris: "Republicans usually force their people out when they commit crimes, democrats promote them to leadership positions". Based on what? Do you have any examples? Of course you don’t.
    Both parties have members that are guilty of crimes, a politician is a politician. It doesn't matter what party you are talking about. The difference is Conservatives talk like their party is better and are above all this – just look at the comment from Chris as an example. Even while committing a crime, Republicans are better because they force their representatives to resign. Now they are better criminals? How ridiculous is that.

    January 27, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Vox Axiom

    I'll give this gentleman some credit for doing the "Honourable' thing by tendering his resignation.

    No doubt that this was a difficult decision to make. Kudos to him for having the courage to do so.

    Best of luck to him in the future, and here's hoping that he lands on his feet.

    Members of all parties, no matter in what country you live in, have done some not to pleasant things. There is no need for partisan comments here. Just best wishes to him as he gets his life in order.

    January 27, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. Malory Archer

    conoclast

    Hard drugs in the US House of Representatives?? No mention as to whether he is a 'bagger caucus member, not that that would be any surprise at all!

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

    Considering he's a former faux news reporter it's a safe bet to assume he is.

    January 27, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. wendel

    repos always have an answer when it is their own blame it on someone or something else. We have Christy and McDonald now this guy Really repos is it all the presidents fault????? No must be the irs or bengazi

    January 27, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    "Your words, not mine. The context was the Iranian nuclear program. Spin."
    -------------------------
    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.

    January 27, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. Malory Archer

    Vox Axiom

    I'll give this gentleman some credit for doing the "Honourable' thing by tendering his resignation.

    No doubt that this was a difficult decision to make. Kudos to him for having the courage to do so.

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

    He should have resigned when he got busted three months ago, and therefore deserves no praise.

    January 27, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -Gunderson

    Around and around and around we go, where we stop, nobody know. Kinda makes a good case for returning all the big social programs to the states where your local crook can spend your money.

    Good post Chris, in spite of what the liars and movers are saying. Just how do you think we got the 17 Trillion Dollar Federal Debt. From Angels in Congress and President?
    ****************
    No, from conservatives who can't count, yet still want funds with no strings attached sent to their wonderful states that can't even balance their budgets without stealing federal stim funds. Stick to the fake ethnic accent and your charges of a century of uniterrupted liberal rule: they make more sense than your accusations on the debt.

    January 27, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. stewart

    resign my butt. the congress should have expelled him months ago

    January 27, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Harry Cline

    You'll note who backed him in his bid for Congress. The tea-party doesn't care who they send up there as long as the person says all the right things.
    I find it interesting as well that those who supported him because of his stance against farm subsidies, when farmers are traditionally conservative voters.

    The tea-party will turn on anyone.
    And really have no glue how government works. They don't represent the middle class, most barely have a high school diploma. They align themselves with a Libertarian view point, their thinking forced fed to them that thew government is out to get them.

    In the State of Montana the newly elected tea-party reps. in the States legislature vote on issues of which at least one is for late night comedy, allow residents to hunt with a spear.

    It got so bad from constituents calling their reps. about the newly elected tea-party members scaring them the House Republican leader got up on the floor of the House and told them to stop scaring the constituents and acting like buffoons. He said they where making the Republican party look like fools.

    January 27, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. Judy

    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. Hmm. How does that sound? Seems like all congressmen need to be drug tested themselves.

    January 27, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    "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"
    ------------------------------------------
    Ask Mayor Ford how's that working out for him. You two should link up and do a few lines. In the meanwhile, go home, watch Scarface and indulge yourself.

    January 27, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. Samuel Johnston

    You'll note who backed him in his bid for Congress. The tea-party doesn't care who they send up there as long as the person says all the right things.
    I find it interesting as well that those who supported him because of his stance against farm subsidies, when farmers are traditionally conservative voters.

    The tea-party will turn on anyone.
    And really have no glue how government works. They don't represent the middle class, most barely have a high school diploma. They align themselves with a Libertarian view point, their thinking forced fed to them that thee government is out to get them.

    In the State of Montana the newly elected tea-party reps. in the States legislature vote on issues of which at least one is for late night comedy, allow residents to hunt with a spear.

    It got so bad from constituents calling their reps. about the newly elected tea-party members scaring them the House Republican leader got up on the floor of the House and told them to stop scaring the constituents and acting like buffoons. He said they where making the Republican party look like fools.

    January 27, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. julie

    didn't Radel buy his drugs from an undercover agent........good that he resigned, he needss help.......oh the GOP if they aren't saying something really stupid about women's rights/bodies and making fools of themselves, bashing the prez for whatvever and everything, they r on drugs/booze........gota love 'em the R and the D's

    January 27, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    They especially like the thought of total economic collapse and see it as a potential "reset button" to push their agenda. The latest round of debt ceiling hostage games have already begun.
    -------------------------------------------------
    I concur with you Sniffit.
    Yet it is almost as if since January 20th, 2009, there was a collective and palpable sense that one political Party would rejoice, yes I said 'rejoice', at anything that would spell bad news for the country as a whole.
    I have NEVER felt anything like this in our country.
    I cited the realtively innocuous examples of the rwnj's notbeing happy about the unemployment rate going down, and the Olympics but it goes way beyond and deeper than that.
    The fact that they shutdown the government for no good reason points to domestic terrorism. The most dysfunctional Congress in our history,where many have admitted that compromise is a dirty word, that points to domestic terrorism.
    My examples pale in comparison to what they've been steadily up to and instigating since 2009, but they illustrate their "spirit" their lack of "patriotism".
    Benghazi was a wet dream gone bad for them truth be told, I don't care what they profess to feel towards the four dead Americans. They NEVER raised the roof on the hundreds killed under Reagan and Bush at embassies and consulates. They've used Benghazi and will continue to use it for political gain while projecting said behaviour unto others.Didn't Romney stoop to say that he knew one of the dead quite well while running for president?...turned out that he did'nt?
    They have been nothing but shameful these past 5 plus years.
    I've seen nothing like it, and hope never to witness anything like it again.

    January 27, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  25. Thomas

    May he find recover and stay clean a sober .

    There are other ways to help people then being in politics .

    January 27, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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