Rep. Trent Franks said Friday that his resignation, announced abruptly a day earlier, would take effect immediately – moving up the date of his departure from the end of January after his wife was admitted to a hospital.
“Last night, my wife was admitted to the hospital in Washington, D.C. due to an ongoing ailment,” the Arizona Republican said in an emailed statement. “After discussing options with my family, we came to the conclusion that the best thing for our family now would be for me to tender my previous resignation effective today, December 8th, 2017.”
Franks announced Thursday he would resign from Congress following revelations that he had asked two of his female staffers if they would carry his child as a surrogate mother and that the House Ethics Committee had opened an investigation into his behavior.
The Friday announcement came just before a report in which one female former aide said Franks asked her repeatedly to carry his child, even offering her $5 million, and another in which it was alleged that he may have implied he wanted to impregnate the women through intercourse.
According to Politico, one woman said she believed she was the subject of retribution after rebuffing Franks.
In a statement released Thursday, Franks said he planned to resign effective Jan. 31.
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office said the allegations were “serious and requiring action” and that Franks, 60, “did not deny” them.
Franks has admitted in a statement to asking female staffers to serve as a surrogate, but a spokesman on Friday denied the further allegations detailed by the new reports.
Franks and Josephine, his wife of almost 40 years, have twin children who were born with the help of a surrogate. He said in his statement Thursday that, after several failed pregnancies, they began to explore options for having another child via surrogacy.
“Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others,” he said.
He said he believed the wave of sexual harassment allegations that has led to the resignations of two other lawmakers this week is “important” but would mean an ethics investigation into his actions would not be fair.
“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,” he said. “Rather than allow a sensationalized trial by media damage those things I love most, this morning I notified House leadership that I will be leaving Congress.”