Rep. Trey Radel will return to congress, the Florida Republican said Thursday after leaving rehab.
“I love what I do, and I’m going to return to what I do, what you sent me to do, in Washington, D.C.,” Radel said at a press conference in Cape Coral, Florida on Thursday, with his wife standing by his side.
Radel checked into inpatient treatment after being charged with possession of cocaine last month. He said that over the past few weeks, he was treated for alcoholism. “Alcohol is my issue,” he said.
“It was selfishly fun, but it became a problem when it led to poor choices and missed opportunities,” he said, adding that it had “chipped away” at his relationship with his wife and child. He said that it did not in any way interfere with his activities as a congressman, and that he had not at any point been drunk or high for votes.
He said he working on a “step by step” program that involved “daily meetings” and “reconnecting with my spiritual side.”
As far as the charges against him, Radel said he had used cocaine “a handful of times.” He said that when he was arrested for possession, he was “not with anyone who has anything to do with anything at all on Capitol Hill,” saying specifically that it was not another member of congress, a lobbyist, or a hill staffer. He declined to say who it was.
Radel’s wife, Amy, was not present at any of his other public appearances after the charges were announced. On Thursday, she stood by his side and called him “an amazing man.”
“I’m here supporting him. I stand by Trey because I do support him one hundred percent. I love him unconditionally,” she said. She attributed her past absences to their two-year-old son and declined to say when she learned of her husband’s cocaine use.
Radel is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, an investigation he said he would be cooperating with.
“Ethics should be investigating,” he said. “They absolutely should be. And I will cooperate with them in every possible way that I can.”
Radel said that perhaps all members of congress ought to undergo drug testing.
“I think members of congress can and should be tested,” he said. “Maybe it will help someone else.”