On Wednesday, Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania announced that he will resign, effective October 21st. He was caught having pressured a woman he was having an affair with into getting an abortion.
Murphy originally announced on Wednesday night that he would not be seeking re-election and would serve out the rest of his term though the year 2018. However, as the story developed, new details emerged and Rep. Murphy was forced to move up his timetable for ending his career.
Speaker Paul Ryan confirmed the news of Murphy’s resignation, saying that he received a formal letter from the Republican politician on Thursday. Ryan was gracious towards Murphy, praising his service to the nation, “We thank him for his many years of tireless work on mental health issues here in Congress and his service to the country as a naval reserve officer.”
Less than 10 minutes before the office released this statement, Ryan at a press conference was asked if Murphy should resign or serve his term in his opinion and to that he had replied, “I have spoken with Tim quite a bit the last couple of days. I think it’s appropriate that he moves onto the next chapter of his life and I think he agrees with that.”
On Thursday, Murphy did not show up for the House votes to adopt a budget for 2018 paving the way for the tax reforms. However, he did cast a vote on Tuesday on a legislation to ban abortions after 20 weeks shortly after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s story of his leaked text messages ignited the scandal.
The Post-Gazette reported on Tuesday that a text message sent to Murphy from Shannon Edwards – a forensic psychologist – with whom the lawmaker was having an affair with, suggested that Murphy had urged the woman to have an abortion during a pregnancy scare.
The text message from Edwards said, “And you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options.”
To which Murphy replied, “I get what you say about my March for life messages. I’ve never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don’t write any more. I will.”
Murphy had admitted to the affair in September.
Murphy – a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, has received support from the Family Research Council and was also endorsed by the pro-life political action committee LifePAC.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also revealed in their story that Murphy’s chief of staff had written a six-page memo documenting a toxic work environment the lawmaker had created for his employees. According to the memo, Murphy’s “hostile, erratic, unstable, angry, aggressive and abusive behavior” resulted in an “inability to hire and retain competent staff” and “abysmal office morale.”
Before this week’s report on Murphy by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Murphy was best known in recent years for his extraordinary work and efforts on the mental health reforms. His legislation, titled the ‘Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,’ was included in a medical innovation bill that passed Congress late last year.
Murphy’s bill, among his other provisions, further increased the number of psychiatric hospital beds and provided more grants to train the police officers and the first responders to how to recognize any mental illness.
Murphy’s southwestern Pennsylvania district, near Pittsburgh, is considered to be a GOP stronghold that’s unlikely to flip to the Democrats in the special election to be held to replace him. President Trump won the district by 20 points in 2016.
Representative Steve Stivers, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, in a statement said, “The circumstances surrounding this situation are extremely disappointing to me” but also predicted Murphy’s seat would continue to remain in GOP control.