Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL), a freshman congressman, was arrested on Oct. 29 in Washington, D.C., and charged with cocaine possession, Politico reported Tuesday.
Radel was charged with cocaine possession on Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court, pursuant to the arrest a few weeks ago, and is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday. “The Florida Republican is a former journalist, TV anchor and radio talk-show host,” Politico wrote. “He never held elective office before winning his House seat last November.”
In a statement released by his congressional office about these developments with his arrest and charges, Radel blamed the events on alcoholism.
“I’m profoundly sorry to let down my family, particularly my wife and son, and the people of Southwest Florida,” Radel said in a statement.
I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. As the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, I need to get help so I can be a better man for both of them. In facing this charge, I realize the disappointment my family, friends and constituents must feel. Believe me, I am disappointed in myself, and I stand ready to face the consequences of my actions.
Radel added he believes this “unfortunate event” does, however, “have a positive side.”
“It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling,” Radel said. “I know I have a problem and will do whatever is necessary to overcome it, hopefully setting an example for others struggling with this disease. Please keep my family in your prayers.”
Radel has openly criticized Karl Rove’s role in the Republican Party but also has voiced support for some kind of amnesty legislation. In an Aug. 21 interview with the National Journal, Radel said he is “open” to any types of immigration legislation proposals. “Right now, I’m open to everything,” Radel said then when asked if he supported immigration reform efforts.
“However, the Senate bill does not go far enough. I don’t even think it would have a shot in the House,” he continued. “[Republican Rep.] Mario Diaz-Balart, he’s my neighbor, he’s a longtime friend and mentor, is working with Democrats in the House right now and they’re just trying to shape up a policy that I think has a chance.”
Diaz-Balart, the GOP congressman he cited as being a “friend and mentor,” is the only GOP congressman left in the now-defunct House “Gang of Seven” immigration group and has endorsed the House Democrats’ immigration proposal pushed by House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
In that interview with the National Journal, Radel also touted moving towards “bipartisanship.”
“The rhetoric in the media has somewhat been toned down,” Radel said when asked why he thinks the freshman class of this congress is better than previous congresses. “You don’t see a ton of the overheated statements and rhetoric about how terrible the other side is. I haven’t seen many of our freshman class members doing it. Two perfect examples of 2010 of what I saw as an outsider, Alan Grayson and Allen West.”
“I think personally they’re both good guys. I’d be happy to work with either one of them at any time,” Radel added. “But I think that the American public is sick and tired of the name-calling and they want something done and I think that our freshman class in particular understands that.”
Radel also noted he spent his “first two weeks here in Congress reaching out to every Florida Democrat to go shake their hand and say: ‘I’m not here to yell out you. I’m not here to name call. I’m here to work with you.'”
That, he said, landed him “a Valentine’s Day dinner with Debbie Wasserman Schultz.” Radel said his wife “got a kick out of” the fact he had Valentine’s Day dinner with the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.