It was a swift and startling fall from grace for Congressman Mark Souder, who resigned early Tuesday following revelations of an affair with a former aide. TIME’s Jay Newton-Small has the full story.
When video of Souder’s press conference quickly went viral, however, it became clear that the Congressman was still struggling Tuesday to process all that had transpired between Sunday, when Politico reported he had first informed Minority Leader John Boehner of the situation, and the dimly lit press conference that brought his political career to an end. “I can never fully thank all those who have worked so hard, given so much and supported me through eight contested primaries and eight general elections. Only when you have been the recipient…can you really feel the humbling power of such generosity,” Souder said, his voice cracking.
Around 2:25 in the video above, gathered reporters witnessed an odd aside, as Souder chastised cheating politicians for bringing their spouses to the resignation podium – even as he himself was in the midst of resigning. “Diane and my family were more than willing to stand here with me. We are a committed family,” he said, clearly going off script. “But the error is mine and I should bear the responsibility, and quite frankly I’m sick of politicians who drag their spouses up in front of the cameras rather than confronting the problem that they caused.”
Returning to his prepared remarks, Souder begged forgiveness: “Not only am I thankful for a loving family and a loving God; My comfort is that God is gracious and a forgiving God to those who sincerely seek his forgiveness as I do. But I am so ashamed to have hurt those I love.”
Souder said his resignation would be effective Friday.