Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) on Wednesday apologized for a photo that circulated anonymously on social media earlier this week which appeared to show him nude.
“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,” he said in a statement Wednesday acknowledging the photo. “I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.”
The censored photo of his genitals, which was shared by an anonymous Twitter account, along with a text message that used graphic language, appeared to be sent by Barton to a woman he was dating.
A spokesperson said that Barton would not resign.
But the senior House GOP member suggested to The Texas Tribune, which first reported the apology, that he is considering whether or not seek re-election next year, after 32 years in Congress.
“I am talking to a number of people, all of whom I have faith in and am deciding how to respond, quite frankly,” Barton said.
Just a few weeks ago, he told McClatchy that he planned to run again in 2018.
“Much work remains in Washington and I hope to carry on the torch for the 6th District,” he said.
Barton, one of the senior-most members of the House GOP and head of the Texas delegation, is a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus.
The incident comes as several members of Congress have faced sexual harassment allegations, and legislators are considering how to better address the byzantine system currently in place for reporting misconduct involving lawmakers and/or staffers on Capitol Hill.