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. pee wee

    Oh, I see it all bery clearly now. The "more family values", and "oh, what Repuglican hypocrisy" crowds are out.

    Are you lambasting him for the hypocrisy, the offense, or just because he has an R behind his name?

    I suspect it is the latter of those three choices since most of the aforementioned groups fall deathly silent when those wanting to raise taxes at every turn fail to pay their current share.

    Forget right and left, focus on right and wrong.

    June 17, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. Marty, FL

    This unfortunately exasperates too much hypocrisy in the GOP and Sen. Ensign pushing their so-called "family/traditional values" onto to others for political purposes, while having their own indiscretions. What a sad fallacy.

    June 17, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. arc, Lugano CH

    Infidelity is hardly a party issue.

    While bloggers are calling each other names embroiled in a cyber-battle of one-upmanship, our elected officials of both parties are drinking beers together at McCormick and Schmick’s and talking, laughing it up and bragging about their respective extra marital affairs.

    Old Republican and Democrat guys in nice suits eating oysters, drinking martinis with women half their age, while we bloggers are counting the days till our next paycheck like shmucks....

    I feel rage!

    June 17, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. citizenjane

    "John is a person of great faith. So I know this is a very, very difficult deal for he and his family." as quoted by John Kyl

    A person of great faith, is he? Doubtful at best. If anything, Ensign has shown himself to be a person of little restraint.

    June 17, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. mmg

    Before all the slamming of the Republicans ...Let's not forget President Clinton and John Edwards.... Enough said!!!!

    June 17, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. Marty, FL


    Extending compassionate benefits to those in need is ethical and moral–hate and hypocrisy are not.

    June 17, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. James M. Holmes

    This phony should resign from the Senate!

    Let me be clear – I personally believe this whole "cheating" thing should be a personal issue between the parties involved… I don't think that politicians should resign per se over a personal issue…

    But when you put yourself up on a "morals pedistal" and call for others like Bill Clinton and Larry Craig to resign when they did the exact same thing, but then you wont, then you are nothing but a HYPOCRITE!

    Imagine that – a "holier than thou" hypocritical Republican? Ensign, you should take YOUR ADVICE and resign… From here on out, you have lost all credibilty and are making yourself and your party look even worse by setting a new standard of hypocracy!

    June 17, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. WOW, another Affair by a heterosexual politician!!!!!

    hmmm, the Frank story coverage brings out every homophobic CNN reader to tap out a message....

    well, here's one from a GAY FEMALE DEMOCRAT,
    -paying taxes just like everyone else....
    -raising a family like everyone else....
    -going to church like everyone else...
    -and to work every single day.

    IT IS SICKENING how everyone is so hyped up over sexuality when heterosexuals make such obscene moves against their vows.

    LET MY PEOPLE GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    we are all human.

    June 17, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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