June 17th, 2009
03:20 PM ET
14 years ago

Sen. John Ensign resigns GOP leadership post

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/16/art.ensignfrown0616.gi.jpg caption="Sen. John Ensign Wednesday resigned his position in the Senate Republican leadership."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - A day after admitting to an extramarital affair, Nevada Sen. John Ensign has resigned his position in the Senate Republican leadership, a Senate GOP leadership source confirmed to CNN Wednesday.

Ensign was the head of the Republican Policy Committee, the fourth-ranking elected leadership position.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement saying “He’s accepted responsibility for his actions and apologized to his family and constituents. He offered, and I accepted, his resignation as chairman of the Policy Committee.”

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, a good friend of Ensign, said the Nevadan still has a role to play in the party.

“He’s a very intelligent senator," Kyl said, adding, "John is a person of great faith. So I know this is a very, very difficult deal for he and his family."

Meanwhile Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn, who shares a house with Ensign in Washington, said time will tell what his future role in the party will be.

"He’s a bright young man and lot of people make mistakes," Coburn said.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. with comments from Sens. Kyl, Coburn.

Filed under: John Ensign
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Kiss those White House ambitions goodbye as well.

    June 17, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. Sharon Kitchen

    A wise choice.

    June 17, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  3. southerncousin

    Blame it on FOX news for telling the truth, every other scummy liberal does.

    June 17, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. J.P.

    Snore. If it's only infidelity, then he's fine, good-to-go... and should keep his seat.

    Bill Clinton not only had an infidelity issue, but a position-of-authority issue with a subordinate... and then, to add insult to injury, PERJURED himself on top of it!

    AND he still kept his seat as... wait for it... President.

    I think Ensign is fine on this one.

    June 17, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. Dennis

    Another Republican with family values.

    June 17, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. Dawn in Pa

    If you are having an affair with someone other than a spouse, and you criticize someone doing the same thing it is called hypocrisy.

    Shame on you!!!!!

    June 17, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Gemma

    Good for him. If it was anyone else he would be demanding they resign.

    June 17, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. mtv

    So i guess now the media will give him lots of coverage like Rush and Cheney and he'll also speak for their party

    June 17, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Claudia in Houson

    McCain, Gingrich, Vitter and all the rest should go with him.

    June 17, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. Bob

    Another one bites the dust. What happened to those "Values" The GOP constantly talks about ?

    June 17, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. Grant from Denver, CO

    Well I'll be darned. A Republican that did the right thing after he got caught. Not perfect, but at least it's a step in the right direction for the morally corrupt religious right.

    June 17, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. Frank

    What is a big mistake are those who consider all forms of perversion as acceptable – as someone in his 50's, I've seen advances made, for example, in the ending of racial segregation, and to end that policy was the correct thing to do, but not in this case, since the former was a matter of not denying someone equal rights based on the color of their skin.

    In the latter, it would be condoning a lifestyle that has nothing to do with something as innocent as the race the person was born into, but is based on an immoral lifestyle – there needs to be a line drawn where no man should pass...

    June 17, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. Melissa

    Just more proof that the vaunted "Republican moral superiority" is a total lie.

    June 17, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Post always rejected by CNN

    The governor of New York admitted responsibility, his wife forgave him, but the continual republican led outcry led to his resignation.

    This creep says he won't resign..Even tho they both committed adultry it seems to me the republicans who whine and moan about the democrats must not be all that moral when it comes to supporting their familys and constitchants.

    June 17, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. bozo obama

    He deserves to resign for acting like a typical liberal.

    June 17, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. Cal

    No wonder the GOP is in such a mess!

    No MORALS in that group or anywhere in Washington!

    June 17, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  17. Irma in North Carolina

    Well Mitch there is another good prospect along with Newt to run for president. They must be friends of Mccain and Edwards. Nice picks for president there.

    June 17, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. Joanna

    I could really care less about a member of the GOP, but who cares what one does in there personal life? It is NONE of my business!

    June 17, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. makesUwonder

    Oh, the state owned liberal media just couldn't wait to get this story going regarding Sen. Ensign.

    However, when Edwards was having a baby with another woman while his wife was fighting a life threatening cancer the only place the Edwards story could be found was buried somewhere in the middle of the paper at the bottom. And, if you blinked you missed the Edwards story.

    June 17, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    And resign is exactly what he should have done.

    Now... maybe Senator Kennedy, D-MA, will come to his senses and resign as well. MA has been disproportionately represented in the senate for over a year now.

    And Minnesota... why don't you get your act together and seat someone?

    June 17, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. Ritas

    Hope FOX and Limbaugh are jumping all over him, oh, did I miss something and they aren't covering this one!!!!

    June 17, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. Esco

    Another one bites it?! So many corrupt senators, it really makes you wonder how many more will pop out with bad news...

    June 17, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. Zion

    Man, don't resign over this. So many men on capital hill have placed their pens in the wrong ink well until I don't even blink anymore. (Many just haven't been caught yet). Keep your position.

    June 17, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. GINA, OHIO

    what a great set of values you have gop!!! i cant find one thing that i can idenify with the gop!! i think they that their party is becoming obsolete! time to roll with the changes! and you cant teach these old dogs a new trick!

    June 17, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
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