NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York congressman who resigned after an embarrassing photo ended up on the Internet was reportedly told by the Speaker of the House to stop partying.
The sudden resignation of Buffalo Congressman Christopher Lee on Wednesday night, and has now become the butt of jokes in Washington.READ MORE: Westchester Police Departments Travel To Harlem In Tribute To Fallen NYPD Officer Jason Rivera
It took only moments — and an Internet scandal—For Lee to go from being a well respected Republican lawmaker to the butt of jokes on Capital Hill — jokes like “say what you will about Christopher Lee, that guy who’d give you the shirt off his back.”
That joke was made at a Washington dinner hours after the now-infamous picture went viral.
“It’s just crazy. It’s astounding,” political strategist William O’Reilly said told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
Political experts sound off on Lee’s sudden resignation
The married 46-year-old upstate native is said to have snapped and sent the picture to a woman on Craigslist.
The website Gawker.com posted an email exchange that featured Lee allegedly calling himself “a very fit, fun, classy guy’ — who promises “not to disappoint.”
When asked if he’s divorced, he allegedly lies and says “yes, one child.”
O’Reilly, who has worked on a number of campaigns in New York, called the former congressman reckless.
“I mean here you have a sitting congressman, who’s posting pictures of himself, half naked, his face … um you’d think he’d want to get caught, it was just a bizarre situation,” O’Reilly said.
In a statement, Lee said “it’s been a tremendous honor to serve the people of western New York. I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents.”
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Laurie Buonanno, chair of political science at Buffalo State College, suggested Lee’s alleged actions contradicted his public positions.
“Christopher Lee preached family values, and it was even a little unusual for western New York,” Buonanno said.
House Speaker John Boehner refused to say Thursday whether he urged Lee to quit, but he said the once-rising star in the Republican Party did the right thing in vacating his seat.
“Congressman Lee made his own decision that he thought was in his best interest and the interest of his family,” Boehner said.
Lee’s resignation from his western New York seat opens up a political vacuum. Upstate Republican Sen. George Maziarz has said he’s interested in running and is viewed as a frontrunner, but only if he leaves Albany for Washington.
“What happens to that seat is there’s a special election. If the Democrats capture that seat the Republicans lose control of the New York Senate,” former Erie County GOP Chairman Bob Davis said.
Boehner also reprimanded Lee for apparently partying too much in Washington and “inappropriately hanging out with female lobbyists.”
As for Republicans losing control of the Senate in Albany, they say no way. They already have a popular candidate.
When CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis showed the congressman’s personal picture on the streets of New York on Wednesday night the reaction was mixed.
“I think that’s pretty awful. I don’t think an elected official should be posting anything on Craigslist,” one person said.
“He should not have resigned. He should have taken responsibility for his actions, and apologized, and tried to do a better job, and just move on, move on,” added Anthony Muhammad of Bridgeport, Conn.MORE NEWS: Lashawn McNeil, Suspect In Deadly Harlem Police Shooting, Was On Probation, Had 5 Prior Arrests
“If it were my husband, I would be livid. I would be very angry,” said Rachel Pearlman of Park Slope.