LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The top Republican and Democrat in the House of Representatives spoke out about Congressman Trey Radel's admission to possessing cocaine.
Speaker of the House John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi both spoke about Congressman Radel's health. It comes just hours after Radel announced he's taking leave while seeking treatment for alcoholism. Last night's emotional apology is now getting play across the country, and it's got people talking, not just about the Congressman, but about the addictions he says he's battling.
Radel said he plans to enter a drug rehab program in Naples, and while there are still many questions he has yet to answer, he started with an apology.
"I am sorry. I have no excuse for what I've done and I am not going to try and sit here and make up any excuse for what I've done," said Radel.
Without excuses, Radel apologized to his family, his constituents, and the people he represents politically, upon returning to Southwest Florida Wednesday evening.
"I am here tonight to take responsibility for what I did, to be held accountable for the bad decisions I've made in my life and own up to my actions. I have been getting help that I need I will continue to get the help that I need and the support system that I need for years to come," said Radel.
Radel admitted to alcoholism upon facing charges for cocaine possession in an undercover drug sting. Radel said he's been dealing with alcohol abuse for years.
"I've been struggling with this, but I have had my wake up call and I now know what I need. I need to take responsibility, own up to the decisions I have made and move forward and I am doing just that," said the Congressman.
While taking time in treatment and out of office, Radel said he'll focus on mending both his health and his family.
"I've let down my family, including my wife, and even though he doesn't know it my 2-year-old son," said Radel.
His wife, Amy Wegmann Radel, has been out of the public eye through Radel's arrest, but through it all, he said she's been his "rock."
"She said, 'I married you to be with you, to stick with you in good times and bad, and she has been incredible. I do have trust to rebuild and I have to mend her heart, which I have broken and I have to mend a lot of hearts," said Radel.
Some of those who know and have supported the Congressman are offering their words. Former Congressman Connie Mack sent this statement to WINK News about Representative Radel: "I certainly hope Trey gets the help he needs. Time and his own actions will determine whether the people are willing to give him a second chance."
Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott also sent WINK News a statement about Representative Radel's guilty plea saying, "The news of Radel's involvement with drugs is disappointing and I hope he regains control of his life. Beyond that, Southwest Florida expects and deserves better in our Republicans."
While Radel takes a leave of absence, he said he plans to donate his paycheck, of more than $14,000 a month, to charity.