Asked whether he spoke with now-former Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) after his shirtless photo surfaced and before his resignation, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters, “My conversations with members are private and will remain that way.”
But Boehner didn’t quite leave it at that.
He did indicate that he thought Lee’s resignation was the right thing to do, adding “I believe that members of Congress should be held to the highest ethical standards, as the American people expect.”
Though reports surfaced again this morning that Lee was one of several junior members that Boehner warned last year about their personal lives, Boehner indicated that he was as blindsided by the half-naked pictures and emails from Lee as anyone. He mentioned that he was first aware of the problem, “Sometime yesterday afternoon, and then it was a little after six when I heard that he had resigned”
Boehner added of Lee: “I think he made the right decision for himself and for his family.”
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.