WASHINGTON – Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, who has been in seclusion since acknowledging dealings with a Washington escort service, "will be back next week," said a Senate colleague who has exchanged messages with him.
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who has traded e-mails with his fellow Republican, told reporters that he expects Vitter to return to the Capitol by Tuesday, when the Senate will have roll call votes.
Vitter, 46, missed votes on Iraq policy matters on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. DeMint said his understanding is that Vitter has spent the week in Louisiana with his wife and their four children.
"That's the sense I got from trading e-mails," DeMint said.
Vitter's staff has declined to disclose his whereabouts or plans.
In a statement issued Monday night, Vitter apologized for committing a "very serious sin," acknowledging that his Washington phone number was among those called several years ago by an escort service that prosecutors say was a prostitution operation. Telephone records show that the service called Vitter's number five times from 1999 to 2001, while he was a U.S. House member.
DeMint, who generally shares Vitter's conservative philosophies and who joined him in derailing a major immigration bill backed by President Bush, predicted that senators will welcome their colleague back despite his admission.
"It's a huge moral failure that reflects on the whole body," DeMint said. "And for that he's very sorry."
"Obviously he has a lot of remorse," DeMint said. "He seems to want to address it head on and not try to hide it."