U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, released a statement on Wednesday apologizing for a graphic nude photo of him that circulated on social media earlier this week.
“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women,” he said. “Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.”
It is still unclear how the photo got onto social media, who put it there, or whether its posting would constitute revenge porn, which is illegal under Texas law.
Says a Texas Republican voter in a note to me:
Let it sink in: this is an adult man who sent nude photos via social media, and says he should have used “better judgment”? WTF? He should be ashamed of himself and slink away in a corner and weep for dishonoring the memory of his deceased parents. Rod, are there no more adults?
Well, I’ve seen the image, and can never unsee it. It’s not so much that it’s gross — though it is — as it is pathetic. This guy is a grampa with a belly that looks like the world’s biggest pork soup dumpling. He has four children and five grandchildren. He has a reputation as a stalwart, strongly conservative Texan. And still he behaves like this?! From JoeBarton.com:
Look, I don’t understand how anyone with the sense God gave gravel does something like this. But a 68-year-old grandfather and senior Republican politician who has run for years on a reputation of “conservative family values”? Joe Barton is a fool and a fraud. If he had a shred of dignity, he would resign and spend the rest of his life trying to restore himself in the eyes of his four children and five grandchildren.
The person who put this on Twitter claims to have video of Joe Barton pleasuring himself. She sent it to Infowars.com, which has it up.
My smarty-pants Texas Republican source says:
I’m sure Barton will find some DFW minister to defend him. In fact, I’ve coined the phrase to describe this reaction: pastorbation.
The woman described encounters and contact spanning a five-year period that began online after she posted a message on Barton’s Facebook page in 2011, leading to the sexually explicit exchanges and ultimately a pair of physical sexual encounters in Washington and Texas. Over time, she said, she became aware of and corresponded with multiple other women who engaged in relationships with Barton, who represents a suburban Dallas district and is one of the most senior Republicans in the House.
The woman, who is not married, spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her privacy.
In the 2015 phone call, Barton confronted the woman over her communications with the other women, including her decision to share explicit materials he had sent. In that context, he mentioned the Capitol Police, a comment the woman interpreted as an attempt to intimidate her.
“I want your word that this ends,” he said, according to the recording, adding: “I will be completely straight with you. I am ready if I have to, I don’t want to, but I should take all this crap to the Capitol Hill Police and have them launch an investigation. And if I do that, that hurts me potentially big time.”
“Why would you even say that to me?” the woman responded. “The Capitol Hill police? And what would you tell them, sir?”
Said Barton: “I would tell them that I had a three-year undercover relationship with you over the Internet that was heavily sexual and that I had met you twice while married and had sex with you on two different occasions and that I exchanged inappropriate photographs and videos with you that I wouldn’t like to be seen made public, that you still apparently had all of those and were in position to use them in a way that would negatively affect my career. That’s the truth.”