UPDATE: GOP Congressman Trent Franks Resigns Over Sexual Misconduct

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UPDATE. Franks was asked to resign by House Speaker Paul Ryan over a request to female staffers that they consider becoming surrogate mothers to his children. POLITICO:

In a lengthy statement, Franks said he wanted to take “full and personal responsibility for the ways I have broached a topic that, unbeknownst to me until very recently, made certain individuals uncomfortable.” He said he and his wife had “long struggled with infertility” and went through three miscarriages. They tried to adopt children multiple times, only to have the adoptive mothers renege before giving birth.

He added: “A wonderful and loving lady, to whom we will be forever grateful, acted as a gestational surrogate for our twins and was able to carry them successfully to live birth. The process by which they were conceived was a pro-life approach that did not discard or throw away any embryos. My son and daughter are unspeakable gifts of God that have brought us our greatest earthly happiness in the 37 years we have been married.”

[..] “We are in an unusual moment in history — there is collective focus on a very important problem of justice and sexual impropriety,” he said. “It is so important that we get this right for everyone, especially for victims. But in the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation.

It is unclear what “pro-life approach” Franks was talking about. Did he have sex with the surrogate? Is she in fact a mistress? Why is he so terrified to have the details emerge in a committee setting?

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ORIGINAL POST: Rep. Trent Franks, who represents one of the reddest parts of Arizona, is reportedly resigning over past sexual misconduct.

An unnamed source in Arizona Republican politics told Roll Call that “there had been rumors of inappropriate behavior. The Republican said the congressman had apparently been making plans to run for Senate in 2012, but abruptly canceled those plans.”

“There’s been rumors swirling around him for years, at least in 2012,” the Republican added. “And if this turns out to be true, there won’t be that many people who are surprised.”

CNN is telling the same story. POLITICO is also reporting that the congressman will resign, though they do not say why.

Responding to a Roll Call reporter, Franks only said that a forthcoming statement would explain the decision. “We will have a statement a little bit later, but that’s all I can tell you right now,” Franks said.

The former oil businessman and conservative think-tank founder was first elected in 2002. He represents the 8th District, an area northwest of Phoenix that reelected him last year by 37 points.

Franks’s fellow Republican House members were seen surrounding him on the floor.

Rep. Franks has been a favorite among anti-abortion extremists. After the Access Hollywood tape of Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault and adultery emerged, Franks defended the candidate by comparing him favorably to Hillary Clinton because she supports reproductive freedom.

Franks authored the so-called “fetal pain” bill that would make abortions illegal after 20 weeks. He has compared abortion to slavery and opposes exceptions for rape victims, claiming that “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.”

Who could have guessed that a man with such views might have made inappropriate sexual advances at some point in his career?

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