Trey Radel returns to Capitol Hill after cocaine bust, treatment
January 7th, 2014
08:06 PM ET
8 years ago

Trey Radel returns to Capitol Hill after cocaine bust, treatment

(CNN) - U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Florida, returned to work on Capitol Hill Tuesday for the first time after pleading guilty to cocaine possession last November.

He repeatedly apologized for his actions and insisted he's 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 side 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 an 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."

Radel flatly declared that "re-election is the absolute last thing on my mind." But he'll need to address questions about his political future soon. According to the Tampa Bay Times, former state representative Paige Kreegel announced he will challenge Radel in the GOP primary in August.

Radel told reporters he hasn't talked to House Speaker John Boehner since he completed his treatment program for substance abuse in Florida, but he said he has a meeting scheduled with Boehner later this week.

Although he declined to detail his treatment plans while he is serving in Washington, Radel made several references suggesting he was participating in a 12-step program created by Alcoholics Anonymous. Although Radel 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," Radel said.

CNN's Paul Courson contributed to this report

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Hooper

    Just another family values hypocrite in need of unemployment. MESSAGE.

    January 7, 2014 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  2. Michael

    That's standard procedure for politicians caught with drugs. Admit the one legal drug. He is definitely running again and probably will stay on the cocaine. Its a business for polished liars and drug addicts are le creme de la creme of liars.

    January 7, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  3. TNPatriot

    This coke head should do the 'honorable' thing and resign NOW!

    January 7, 2014 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  4. susan

    I wish the people had a say in this.... He should be fired... PERIOD

    January 7, 2014 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. Jeff Brown in Jersey


    January 7, 2014 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  6. S. B. Stein

    He should be booted from the House. He broke the law and should be spending time in jail for it.

    January 7, 2014 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  7. don in albuquerque

    Not bad enough that he disgraced himself and his family....He is a disgrace to the country and its government. But then just one more member of the GOTP to whom the laws of the land do not apply.

    January 7, 2014 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  8. Bob

    Why isn't this guy in jail?

    January 7, 2014 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  9. current state of the union

    Given second chances are rare, people often aren't willing to give the compassion they expect from others, good luck .

    January 7, 2014 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  10. Smitty

    Hey coke head GET OUT !! Enough said.

    January 7, 2014 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  11. Thomas

    Is this kind of person you want in office ?

    January 8, 2014 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  12. Whatever

    Congress doesn't do anything, isn't he worried he will get bored and...

    January 8, 2014 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  13. fudge

    I was wondering how long CNN would take to tag this guy as a Republican. 1 sentence.
    Compare that to Jesse Jackson Jr. or Bob Filner? both democrats and both served in the House of Representatives.
    No party ID for these guys.

    January 8, 2014 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  14. Michael MN

    And if he was a inner city drug user he would be in prison and or un able to get a job becuase of his drug record

    January 8, 2014 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  15. Marie MD

    I am not even sure why this fool is not in jail for buying cocaine from an undercover policeman!
    Who says Animal Farm is not alive and well in the world of the rich and powerful?
    He's not looking for re election? He should have resigned. If this had been a Democrat he wouldn't have come back because the teaklans and repugs, those fake christians, would have made sure he paid for his sins.

    January 8, 2014 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  16. Gurgyl

    GOP and their puff–shame, shame.

    January 8, 2014 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    January 8, 2014 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  18. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    He's put in November along with the rest of the GOP teaparty clowns done here in Florida . Rubio , yahoo, radal, Scott for sure and the rest of the teaparty extremest legislature of the GOP .

    January 8, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  19. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    This GOP teaparty idiot is a goner and is just hanging around to qualify for his full taxpayer funded pension after ONE year of service. Replace this party animal with a dem and get Florida moving again.we remember the lines you caused Scott trying to rigg the election for Romney the tax cheat!!!!!

    January 8, 2014 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  20. Tampa Tim

    Rick Scott, Trey Radel, and Marco Rubio, are true representatives of the tea bagger party. They bring their expertise to government : Medicaid scammer, alcoholic drug user, and campaign fund abuser.

    January 8, 2014 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  21. Tampa Tim

    Too bad Trey didn't get caught in FL for buying his choice of drugs. He would be looking at 15 years.

    January 8, 2014 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  22. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Radal is just trying to qualify for his full pension after ONE year of service at taxpayers exspence . FULlL PENSION after one year of service, that's a national disgrace!!!!

    January 8, 2014 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  23. tom l

    "I am not even sure why this fool is not in jail for buying cocaine from an undercover policeman!"


    While I don't think that this guy should be in office and should resign you are out of your mind if you think someone should go to jail for buying cocaine for personal use. Does the name Patrick Kennedy ring a bell for you? Your comment demonstrates that you are not a serious thinker and nothing more than a partisan hack.

    January 8, 2014 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  24. jinx9to88

    Thousands of Americans are in prison for the samething he gets busted for and he doesn't spend one night in jail. Am I the only one that has a problem with this? This is pathetic!!!!

    January 8, 2014 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Why hasn't this man resigned? Because he's a Republican.
    Why aren't Democrats making loud noises about him resigning? Because they're Democrats.

    January 8, 2014 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
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