The number of top Florida Republicans calling today for Rep. Trey Radel to resign in the wake of his arrest last week for cocaine possession grew even longer today.
Pam Bondi, the Republican attorney general, told ABC News today that Radel should not stay in office.
“As a career prosecutor, I understand the devastating effects that addiction can have on one’s life,” Bondi told ABC News. “While I understand that this is a challenging time for Trey and his family, I believe that he should resign.” Bondi also said that she “will continue to keep Trey and his family” in her prayers.
Radel pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after being arrested for purchasing 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover agent in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 29. Had Radel been caught with that same amount of cocaine in Florida, it would be considered a third degree felony punishable by five years in jail.
Bondi’s statement comes after Florida Gov. Rick Scott called for Radel to resign earlier today.
“I agree with the party chairman. Look, Trey is going through a tough time. My prayers and my wife’s prayers are with his family. But we have to hold all of our elected officials to the highest standards,” Scott said. The governor was referencing a statement made by Florida Republican Party Chair Lenny Curry.
“The people of Florida’s 19th Congressional District need a Congressman who is 100 percent focused on the needs of Southwest Florida,” said Curry. “Therefore, Congressman Radel should step down and focus his attention on rehabilitation and his family.”
In addition, Terry Miller and Mike Lyster, the chairs of the Lee and Collier counties Republican Party, released a joint statement urging Radel to quit.
A representative for Radel told The Hill Newspaper that he has no intention to resign. “Congressman Radel’s top priority right now is to complete his rehabilitation and then return to work as soon as possible,” the representative said.
Radel, though stopping short of providing any details, also told the Naples Daily News that he has been harassed during his time in rehab.
“It really is upsetting,” Radel told the newspaper.
But he dismissed the calls for his resignation, saying: “I feel great. I am here focused on my family and my health.”