ABC News’ Jonathan Blakely and Steven Portnoy report:
Rep. Eric Massa has said that he’s resigning his seat in Congress today. But, he declared in something of an understatement: “I will not go quietly.”
Massa, D-N.Y., put on his political boxing gloves yesterday in a lengthy, rambling monologue on a small, upstate New York radio station, where he declared himself “guilty” of making “inappropriate” comments to a staff member and suggested that he’s being forced out of Congress as part of a “set up” involving the Obama White House.
“I will not go quietly into the evening. I will not be ashamed of my actions,” he said. “I was set up for this from the very, very beginning.”
Rep. Massa announced his departure from Congress last Friday, amid the news of a House Ethics Committee investigation into his conduct at a New Year’s Eve wedding party last year during which he admittedly acted inappropriately toward a staffer. Massa cited health reasons in his announcement last week, but he made clear in his radio appearance yesterday that other things were on his mind.
Recounting the incident at the party, which followed a dance with a bridesmaid, he confessed: “I grabbed the staff member sitting next to me and said, ‘Well, what I really ought to be doing is fracking you.’ And then I tousled the guy’s hair and left. … Now, was that inappropriate of me? Absolutely. Am I guilty? Yes.”
But Massa says his resignation has more to do with Democrats taste for blood because of his stance on health care. He has been unapologetic about being a “no” vote on the controversial reform bill, and he claims that Democrats blew last year’s incident out of proportion in order to force him into resignation.
“If you think that somehow they didn’t come after me to get rid of me because my vote is the deciding vote in the health care bill, then, ladies and gentlemen, you live today in a world that is so innocent as to not understand what’s going on in Washington, DC,” he argued.
A manifestation of his promise not to go quietly, Massa’s radio appearance is making plenty of noise across major media outlets. Politico, USA Today, NPR, and many other news sources have already dug in – and there is plenty to go around.
In his address, Massa touched on everything from walking in on a Navy stateroom roommate masturbating, to an encounter with a naked White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, in the House gym.
Massa is slated to resign at 5pm today. But he suggested that he may not wind up tendering it — and Glenn Beck announced that he’ll have Massa on as his guest for the full hour of his Fox News program tomorrow.
Per Massa: “The only way to stop that is for me to rescind my resignation. That’s the only way to stop it. And the only way that’s going to happen is if this becomes a national story,” he said.
UPDATE: ABC’s Dean Norland reports that Massa sent a letter of resignation to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, and that the letter has been sent to the Office of the Clerk of the House.
However, since the House is not in session until tomorrow morning, his resignation won’t take effect until at least that time. In the mean time, conceivably, Massa could change his mind.
UPDATE: ABC News’ Dean Norland reports that the House Parlimentarian’s Office has officially weighed in on when Massa’s resignation becomes effective. Since he was elected from New York, his resignation goes to the state of New York as well as the U.S. House of Representatives. If the letter he sent to New york has 5:00pm Monday (today) specified in it, that is when the resignation will take effect.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, at approximately 2:00 p.m., the letter will be laid before the House. At that time the House will be notified of the resignation.