Trey Radel said Wednesday in an interview with The Washington Post that he has already issued a “heartfelt apology” to his Republican colleagues following his recent drug use charges to which he pleaded guilty.
“I’m thankful I had that opportunity, but I have a whole lot to do to make amends,” said Radel, who has been on a month-long rehabilitation. Radel is well aware that there is still a long way to go to put things right with his constituents and his family.
Several congressmen said most members were sympathetically receptive of Radel’s apology and even applauded him after the remarks.
“We’ve all dealt with friends or families who have struggled with addiction, so we listened and offered encouragement,” said one Republican.
When asked by a Post reporter how he felt after the apology, the 37-year-old Republican was at loss for words and said it felt really good, his eyes wet with tears.
Those present at the GOP conference said he was one the last people to leave the room as he took time huddling with friends and colleagues.
Radel’s apology was made in front of hundreds of his GOP colleagues in a closed door conference held in the Capitol basement. The meeting was the first Republican Congress meeting after the holidays.
Radel returned to the Capital Tuesday night after the one month absence. He pleaded guilty on Nov. 20 to charges of cocaine possession. This week, he will meet with the GOP leadership to discuss his return to the House.
Radel has still not decided whether he wants to seek re-election in the coming Florida congressional elections. A former Florida state legislator, Paige Kreegel has already expressed her desire to run for the seat.
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