Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton apologized after an anonymous twitter user posted a picture of him naked Wednesday.
The picture, accompanied with texts of a sexual nature were, according to Barton’s apology, sent to a woman with whom he had consensual relationship while he was separated from his wife pending a divorce. That would place the pic some time before 2015, when that divorce was finalized.
“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women. Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended,” Barton said in a statement. “I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.”
Celebrity gossip site TMZ is describing the texts as “illicit,” but there is no indication anything Barton did, including sending an explicit picture of himself to an adult, was against the law. Nothing in the texts so far released indicates harassment or non-consent on the part of the recipient, the identity of whom is unknown. The anonymous social media source may have acquired the pictures separately from the woman or women involved.
Barton has served in Congress since 1985 and represents suburban Dallas. He is running for reelection, but indicated to Texas Tribune he may reconsider in light of this embarrassing revelation.
A former chair of the House Energy Committee, Barton was one of the 14 GOP congressmen who displayed their willingness to create a legislative amnesty for those formally covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program earlier this month, presumably without any concessions from Democrats to President Donald Trump’s immigration priorities.
“You’re as aware of what was posted as I am,” Barton told the Texas Tribune. “I am talking to a number of people, all of whom I have faith in and am deciding how to respond, quite frankly.”