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. bob

    There's a huge cesspool from which to select a replacement.

    June 17, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. I am The Great and Powerful Wizard of Rush

    So Ensign, who condemned Bill Clinton, Sen Craig, continues the republic party's time-honored tradition of utter and complete hypocrisy.

    June 17, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. Ken

    Why are the GOP using double standards, when it was President Clinton, they couldn't even wait to IMPEACH him! Now it seems that they, the GOP, are supporting Ensign!

    Ensign should resign as Senator and go home to fix his marriage.Ensign DOES NOT deserve to continue to be a Senator!

    June 17, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  4. Steve in Kentucky

    I'm sure Rush Limbaugh will say this is all Obama's fault ... somehow.

    June 17, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  5. Republicans Are Like Beauty Queens That Got Last Place, they cry...and their moms complain about the judges.

    FUNNY...he fight tooth and nail against Gay Marriage....because of MORAL VALUES!!!!!!!

    Let's see....in the 10 Commandments-ya know, GOD'S TOP 10 LIST.....

    Adultry right at the TOP!!!!

    Homosexuality....hmmmmm....nope....not even mentioned, didn't even make the list. In fact, it's even less important than using GOD'S name in vein.......

    Republicans you are pathetic....as usual.....

    June 17, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. TX Jim

    Another 2012 GOP hopeful bites the dust. It wasnt like he had a chance of winning but its looking like the GOP will be trotting out some sacrificial retread lamb to get slaughtered (Gingrich), or some bold idiot governor stupid enough to challenge him.

    At this point Obama's 2012 electoral victory is at 200 EV and rising. Unless Palin runs then it may be 300-400.

    June 17, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. NeverScared

    Is this the same Ensign who demanded Clinton's resignation because of a little hanky panky???

    I shocked!


    June 17, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. LacrosseMom

    I find it interesting that the far-right who would have crucified a Democrat has been so silent on the Ensign scandal.

    This story about adultery just goes to remind us all, that NO ONE is perfect, not even the holier-than–thou-far-right!

    June 17, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. Florida , for equal rights

    i love it,,,,, a born again christian and a member of the Promisekeepers,,,,there you go again,,,trying to tell us all what to do and you cant even practice what you preach,,,,,,another 1 bites the dust LOL

    June 17, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. robertebob

    Another savior of the Republican party bites the dust. He was a member of Promise Keepers and a champion of conservative family values. And now this. What a hypocrite.

    June 17, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. Kentucky

    Perhaps McConnell should explain the approximate 5 million to 25 million dollar gift from his wifes father who lives in Red China. McConnell would only disclose that the gift was between 5 amd 25 million dollars. Such disclosure. Mitch is a joke.

    June 17, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. jsilver2th

    More of the same from the family values crowd-

    June 17, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Hypocrite

    Ensign is the same guy who wanted Clinton to be impeached and the same guy who criticized and said he would never put himself or family in that position. He is a Christian Right guy who preaches one thing and does another.
    I am tired of the politicians who throw stones and act mightier than God then caught with thier pants down.

    June 17, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. rick

    he ought to be resigning the senate. he is a hypocrite. some traditional marriage supporter he is. gay couples who can't get married have been together longer than this jerk has been married and haven't cheated, but they aren't worthy of the rights he takes for granted.

    btw, he wanted other republican cheaters to resign too.

    June 17, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    Another religious right-wing nutjob hypocrit.

    Good riddance. Maybe not elected again?????????

    June 17, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |

    by his own declared standard, ensign is supposed to resign the senate seat. a man who betrayed his wife, violated spiritual promise can not be trusted. do you remembe- he called for president clinton's resignation?

    June 17, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. Carole

    I am an Independent, and feel bad for the family. I hope this does not turn political by the Dems or Independent, aka Liberals and proud of it, groups.

    It is like when a Black person commits a crime should all Blacks be embarassed? No.

    June 17, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Rob

    Of course if he was a Dem all you freaks on here bashing him and Republicans would be complaining about how this shouldn't be an issue. But once again, you libs play by different rules don't you.

    Careful...your hypocracy is showing.

    June 17, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Jim

    Another Republican hypocrite who preaches family values then does the opposite. Rush is a convicted drug abuser, yet tries to tell Americans how to live their lives.

    June 17, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    You've got to love those good old Republican values.

    June 17, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. Bob

    Carole said: "I hope this doesn't become political by the Dems"...LOL!!!Like the republicans didn't want Spitzer to resign, right?...Please go peddle your nonsense somewhere else........

    June 17, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Squigman

    How did our nation become so judgmental. This man, a republican, made a mistake. He was very critical of Bill Clinton. Now is the time for all to see that it matters not what party they belong to, all politicians are nothing more than human, and need to be thought of as such. Not only are they subject to faults, they also make sure that they take care of their needs, before the American people are thought of. Wake up people. When was the last time you heard of your elected officals taking the same pay and benefit cuts that you have incurred? Not one time has this happened, and it never will. They've got it sowed, and they intend to keep it that way..

    June 17, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. Steve J, Michigan

    It wouldn't be such a big deal except for the fact that like most Repubs he's more then willing to preach his morality to the rest of us.... Are these guys just that arrogant of just stupid?


    June 17, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. Jay for Jersey

    I want a normal republican party made up of William F Buckley, Colin Powell and Ron Paul.

    Do bad WFB is dead.

    June 17, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. Samuel

    This is not a big deal in today's world. The White House announces it will provide benefits for queer folks and this is news? Is it seems to be a requirement to be ethically, morally, and religously bankrupt in order to be a politician just look at our current president.

    June 17, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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