Louisiana Rep. Vance McAllister is getting the squeeze from GOP leaders to quit in the wake of his videotaped steamy make-out scandal — but the embattled "kissing congressman" refuses, reports said Tuesday.
McAllister declared that leaving the House would leave his district in the lurch.
"I believe that I'm not going to leave my district voiceless again," McAllister said, according to The Hill
, acknowledging Majority Leader Eric Cantor had suggested he resign in a meeting Tuesday.
The married father of five, who was just elected in November to replace retiring Republican Rep. Rodney Alexander, has already announced he won't seek re-election
Cantor is pushing not just for McAllister's resignation, but for House Republicans to adopt a "zero tolerance" policy toward any behavior that doesn't meet a "higher standard," Politico reported
"I did just meet with [McAllister], I asked to meet with him," Cantor told Politico. "When we took the majority, I had said that I believe we ought to hold ourselves to a higher standard. And I think what has happened in his instance doesn't meet that standard. So I told him that I thought he should resign."
McAllister, who has been dogged by a scandal that erupted when a Louisiana newspaper posted a video of the lawmaker kissing and embracing a woman staffer, had a different take on his sit-down with Cantor.
"The conversation was as a friend. He thought I should resign because if I'm not going to run for re-election, why go through eight months of this process if I'm not going to run anyway," McAllister said, according to Politico.
McAllister also shot down comparisons with scandal-scarred New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm
, who has been indicted on charges of fraud and perjury
— though neither Cantor nor House Speaker John Boehner have asked him to resign.
"I don't think Mr. Grimm has anything to do with me," McAllister said — and Cantor seemed to agree.
"As far as Mr. Grimm is concerned, I think he's got to make his case to his constituents and he'll have to make his case in court," he told The Hill, which noted Cantor will meet with Grimm on Wednesday.
A Cantor aide noted McAllister has confessed to wrongdoing, but Grimm has proclaimed his innocence.
Boehner echoed Cantor's call for lawmakers to adhere to a higher standard, and praised Grimm for giving up his seat on the Financial Services Committee.
"I think all members should be held to the highest ethical standards," Boehner told reporters, Politico reported. "Mr. Grimm is under indictment. He resigned from his committee assignment and I think he made the right decision."
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