Scroll To Top

congressman calls on Craig to resign

congressman calls on Craig to resign


A conservative House member from Michigan became the first lawmaker to call for Sen. Larry Craig's resignation on Wednesday, and the White House expressed disappointment in the case of the Idaho senator caught in a men's room undercover police operation.

A conservative Republican House member from Michigan became the first lawmaker to call for Sen. Larry Craig's resignation on Wednesday, and the White House expressed disappointment in the case of the Idaho senator caught in a men's room undercover police operation.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra said Craig ''represents the Republican party'' and called for his resignation, ''as his conduct throughout this matter has been inappropriate for a U.S. senator.''

Craig pleaded guilty in August to a charge of disorderly conduct following his arrest in a men's room at the Minneapolis airport. He has since recanted his guilty plea, and he said on Tuesday he did nothing wrong.

Senate Republican leaders have called on the ethics committee to review Craig's case, and White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said he hoped the panel could do its work quickly.

''That would be in the best interests of the Senate and the people of Idaho,'' he said.

Stanzel gave no expression of support for Craig. ''We are disappointed in the matter. It has been referred to the Senate Ethics Committee, so they will have to deal with it,'' Stanzel said.

There were fresh signs of difficulty for Craig.

Tom Fitton, president of the Judicial Watch, issued a statement calling on the senator to consider stepping down. The organization is a self-described conservative government watchdog group.

''Senator Craig admittedly engaged in illegal activity that brings serious disrepute to the public office he holds,'' Fitton said.

While the Idaho Values Alliance called on Tuesday for Craig's resignation, Fitton's suggestion that the senator leave office portended tenuous support among conservatives who make up his core political supporters.

Craig, 62, a third-term senator up for reelection next year, defended himself Tuesday against a police report alleging he attempted to engage in a homosexual encounter with an undercover officer.

Flanked by his wife, Suzanne, Craig stated three times that he was not gay. He cast his arrest for lewd conduct as unfounded, and said his subsequent guilty plea to disorderly conduct was an error in judgment spurred by frustration with the state's biggest newspaper prying into his past.

The Idaho Statesman published a lengthy story on Tuesday, a day after the June 11 arrest was first reported, detailing allegations of homosexual behavior by Craig. The senator denied the allegations and contended the paper was engaged in a witch hunt. In a statement, the newspaper said its story spoke for itself.

''While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct at the Minneapolis airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of making it go away,'' Craig said. ''It's clear, though, that through my actions I have brought a cloud over Idaho. For that, I ask the people of Idaho for their forgiveness.''

The Idaho Republican Party took a measured, wait-and-see stance while Democrats remained mum, content to let Republicans sort through the fallout. The GOP's biggest names reminded voters of Craig's tenure in the Senate and his powerful seat on the Appropriations Committee.

''I would encourage all Idahoans to avoid rushing to judgment and making brash statements about a man who has dedicated his life to public service,'' GOP state party chairman Kirk Sullivan said in a statement.

Ignoring that plea, some social and religious conservatives and right-wing radio talk-show hosts called for Craig's resignation. And political analysts said Craig will have trouble convincing Gem State voters that his 27-year political career is worth sparing.

''I think what makes it very difficult is the guilty plea,'' said Randy Stapilus, a former political editor at the Idaho Statesman who has a political blog. ''That is something a lot of people will have a tough time getting around.''

In Idaho, with its 1.4 million people, politicians know many supporters by name. The state also likes its Republicans. The GOP controls the statehouse and Congress, and President Bush carried the state in 2004 with 68% of the vote.

More than 166,000 residents are Roman Catholic, and more than 385,000 are Mormon.

Republican leaders in the Senate called for an Ethics Committee review of the case.

''This is a serious matter,'' they said in a written statement issued in Washington over the names of Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the party leader, and several others.

Two Republicans seeking the party's presidential nomination didn't mince words. Mitt Romney, in whose campaign Craig was playing a prominent role until he quit amid the scandal, told CNBC, ''He's disappointed the American people.'' On Jay Leno's The Tonight Show, Sen. John McCain said, ''It's disgraceful.''

Reports state that police sergeant Dave Karsnia was investigating allegations of sexual conduct in Minneapolis airport restrooms when he went into a stall. The complaint against Craig alleged that he employed ''a signal often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct.''

Craig was arrested, read his rights, fingerprinted, and photographed for a mug shot released by police showing him in coat and tie. He signed a guilty plea on August 1, later paid $575 in fines and fees, and was placed on unsupervised probation for a year. (Todd Dvorak, AP)

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Outtraveler Staff