Fox News host Greta Van Susteren has issued an emotional call for “Duck Dynasty”–backed Rep. Vance McAllister to resign following his admission that he cheated on his wife.
The Louisiana Republican and father of five, who highlighted conservative Christian values when he campaigned for office just four months ago, was caught passionately kissing
a female staffer in a surveillance video.
Begging his constitutents to “forgive” him, he says he confessed his infidelity to his wife, Kelly, in late January or early February, "before the video came out."
Blogging on the Huffington Post
, however, Van Susteren points out that he made no public statement until the video was exposed this week by a local newspaper, the Ouachita Citizen.
The Associated Press quoted McAllister spokeswoman Jennifer Dunagin as saying Tuesday that the woman in the video, Melissa Peacock, 33, "voluntarily resigned effective yesterday."
“Yes . . . people make mistakes,” Van Susteren wrote.
“A mistake can truly be accidental -- trip over a crack in the sidewalk -- or a mistake can be done deliberately (kissing a staff member when you are married) that one calls a mistake but only after he is caught," she wrote.
"Congressman McAllister didn't stumble upon the staff member in the dark and accidentally kiss her, thinking it was his wife -- he sought the staffer out, thought about it, and made his move. That 'mistake' was deliberate. The acknowledgment it was wrong occurred after the video came out," she wrote.
Top Republicans distanced themselves from the congressman on Tuesday.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he was pleased McAllister offered an apology, but added he would "reserve further judgment" on whether McAllister should remain in his job.
Jason Dore, executive director of the Louisiana Republican Party, also ducked questions.
"We're certainly disappointed in the news about Congressman McAllister," Dore said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. "His family and constituents definitely deserved an apology, so we're glad he issued a statement.
"We've not had a chance to speak to the congressman. That will be the extent of our comments until we learn more about this situation," Dore said.
McAllister has said he plans to run for re-election next year "unless there is an outcry for me not to serve, and so far there has been an outpouring of support, not for my actions, but for me to continue to represent the people.... If the people are willing to forgive me, I’ll keep fighting. If there’s somebody more perfect than me who they support, it’s their will."
Politically unknown until last year, he battled a state GOP senator, Neil Riser, in last November’s 5th Congressional District race in Louisiana. Riser was expected to win the runoff election after receiving backing from prominent Republicans.
But McAllister came out on top after scoring endorsements in campaign ads from members of the Robertson family, who star on A&E's wildly popular "Duck Dynasty" TV series.
He said in a statement published Tuesday
that the show’s Willie Robertson has expressed support for him, assuring him that the scandal is a private matter.
"Willie told me that he was a friend and that I needed to work things out privately," he said.
Two other members of the deeply religious clan, patriarch Phil Robertson and Al Robertson, declined to comment.
Van Susteren, ranked one of the most powerful women in media by Forbes, said in her blog: “Congressman McAllister should resign -- spare all of us, his wife, his 5 children, his voters and the rest of America (he serves on Congressional Committees that represent all of us)."
"He is certainly not the first to cheat on his wife in Congress (and a kiss is not axe murder), but he should have some self respect and go....
“Of course he should be allowed to seek redemption from his family -- but on his time, and his own dime. What he does on the home front is his business, not ours. I hope he can repair this with his family," she wrote.
She also lashed out at Peacock, saying: “PS: The staffer is cheap, too. She knew her boss is married. Women don't get off the hook with me -- it takes two to tango, right?”
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