Rep. Charles Rangel, the long-serving Harlem Democrat facing numerous House ethics violations, took to the floor of the House of Representatives and gave a rambling 30-minute speech telling his colleagues (and America!) that he's not resigning: "Hey, if I was you, I may want me to go away too. I am not going away. I am here... You're not going to tell me to resign to make you feel comfortable. And for those who disagree, I'm sorry, but that's one thing you can't take away from me." Naturally, the GOP must be pretty happy!
He also added that he asked for a speedy hearing, but didn't hear back, "I’m 80 years old. I don’t want to die before the hearing... Don’t leave me swinging in the wind until November." (November is when he presumably (if he wins his primary) would win another term for Congress.) Rangel said, "I am asking for exposure of the facts... If I can’t get my dignity back here. then fire your best shot of getting rid of me through expulsion."
The Washington Post reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left midway during Rangel's speech and some Democratic House members "looked stricken" when approached by reporters after Rangel's remarks. "Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz merely rolled her eyes and shook her head." Also from the WaPo:
Rangel rambled through the allegations against him. Fundraising with official letterhead: "Grabbing the wrong stationery." The center named after him at the City University of New York: "A broken-down building." The office in the rent-controlled apartment: "The landlord has said he didn't treat me differently." The unpaid taxes on his Caribbean vacation place: "You'd have to be a tax expert" to get that right, said the deposed chairman of the tax-writing committee.
If you've got 30 minutes, you can watch the whole thing:
Rangel's big birthday dinner fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel tonight; the big question is who will show up to support the embattled Congressman.