Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., announced Friday that he is resigning from Congress effective immediately instead of waiting until the end of January.
Franks said Thursday he would leave next month after it emerged that he discussed surrogate parenthood with two female staffers — some reports said he asked them directly to be a surrogate mother. But in a Friday statement, Franks said his wife was admitted to a hospital Thursday night due to a recurring health issue and that Friday would be his last day as a sitting member of Congress.
"Last night, my wife was admitted to the hospital in Washington, D.C. due to an ongoing ailment," Franks said. "After discussing options with my family, we came to the conclusion that the best thing for our family now would be for me to tender my previous resignation effective today, December 8th, 2017."
Franks said he discussed surrogacy with his staff because he and his wife have suffered from infertility, and were looking to have a third child.
"Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others," Franks said. "I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable. I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress."
"But in the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation," Franks said, saying then that he would remain in Congress for most of the next two months. "It is with the greatest sadness, that for the sake of the causes I deeply love, I must now step back from the battle I have spent over three decades fighting."
Franks had served in Congress since 2003 and was a member of the House Freedom Caucus.