WASHINGTON – Rep. Charlie Rangel scoffed at calls by House Republican leaders to step down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee over what they called “mounting ethical charges,” saying Wednesday that he shouldn't have to give up his career over mistakes.
"We do make errors even though we consider ourselves experts," Rangel told reporters. "I have to be judged by others for my morality. I only have a two-year contract and they can renew it ... Making mistakes doesn't mean you should have to give up your career."
House Minority Leader John Boehner and other GOP leaders penned a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tuesday calling for the demotion, citing reports that Rangel has been renting four Harlem apartments at below-market rates and has collected more than $75,000 in undeclared income from a vacation home in the Dominican Republic.
"Boehner must not feel proud of himself — that he needs to appease certain people in his party," Rangel, D-N.Y., told FOX News Tuesday.
"I feel sorry for my friend Boehner that he has to do this … I’m shocked, surprised and disappointed.”
Rangel's attorney Lanny Davis released a statement saying the congressman would not step down, and accused Boehner of "cheap-shot partisanship."
Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly also said Republicans should "stop playing politics and allow the bipartisan ethics committee to do its job."
But Boehner told FOX News that he stands by his demand.
“I just think for the chief tax writer in the United States Congress to admit that he failed to report this income … Charlie ought to step aside until this issue is resolved by the ethics committee,” he said. “The rules are the rules, the law is the law, and Charlie ought to do the honorable thing and step aside until the ethics committee has time to investigate it.”
On Wednesday, Rangel said he still considers himself "a lucky old son of a gun.
"But if this had happened to a younger Democrat or Republican, it would be so unfair," he said.
FOX News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.