Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, addressed reporters Tuesday in Boise, Idaho, responding to reports that he was arrested at Minneapolis-St. Paul (Minn.) International Airport in June after he allegedly appeared to be attempting to engage in lewd behavior in an airport bathroom. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge earlier this month.
SENATOR CRAIG: Thank you all very much for coming out today. I will read a statement.
First, please let me apologize to my family, friends and staff and fellow Idahoans for the cloud placed over Idaho.
I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport. I did nothing wrong, and I regret the decision to plead guilty and the sadness that decision has brought on my wife, my family, friends, staff and fellow Idahoans. And for that, I apologize.
In June, I overreacted and made a poor decision. 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. I did not seek any counsel either from an attorney, staff, friends or family. That was a mistake and I deeply regret it.
Because of that, I have now retained counsel, and I am asking counsel to review this matter and to advise me on how to proceed.
For a moment, I want to put my state of mind into context on June 11th.
For eight months leading up to June 11th my family and I had been relentlessly and viciously harassed by the Idaho Statesman. If you saw the article today, you know why.
Let me be clear: I am not gay. I never have been gay.
Still, without a shred of truth or evidence to the contrary, the Statesman has engaged in this witch hunt.
In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis because of the stress the Idaho Statesman investigation and the rumors it has fueled all around Idaho. Again, that overreaction was a mistake and I apologize for my judgment.
Furthermore, I should not have kept this arrest to myself, and I should have told my family and my friends about it.
I wasn't eager to share this failure, but I should have anyway, because I am not gay.
I love my wife, my family. I care about friends and staff and Idaho. I love serving this great state. Over the years, I have accomplished a lot for Idaho, and I hope Idahoans will allow me to continue to do that. There are still goals I would like to accomplish. And I believe I can still be an effective leader for our state.
Next month, I will announce, as planned, as many of you have already been told, whether or not I will seek reelection.
As an elected official, I fully realize that my life is open for public criticism and scrutiny, and I take full responsibility for a lapse in judgment I made in attempting to handle this matter myself.
It is clear, though, through my action, I have brought a cloud over Idaho. And for that, I seek and ask the people of Idaho to forgive me.
As I mentioned earlier, I have retained counsel to examine the matter. And from that, I will make no further comment.
This statement will go up on my Web site today at craig.senate.gov. Any additional comments will be on the Web site.
I'm sure this is an issue that is not yet over, and I will respond accordingly to all of you in the press. As I have always appreciated your willingness to accommodate me, I hope you appreciate my openness to all of you.
Thank you very much.