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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Craig Announces Resignation Following Pressure from Party

BOISE, Idaho -- In a subdued ending to a week of startling political theater, a Republican U.S. senator arrested in a gay sex sting in an airport bathroom has announced that he will resign.

"I apologize for what I have caused," Senator Larry Craig said Saturday, his wife Suzanne and two of their three children at his side. "I am deeply sorry."

Craig, 62, said he would resign effective Sept. 30, ending a career in the U.S. Congress spanning a quarter-century.

Making no specific mention of the incident that triggered his disgrace, the Idaho senator spoke for under six minutes and took no questions.

Among those attending was Republican Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, who will appoint a successor for the remaining 15 months of Craig's term.

It was a relatively quick end to a drama that began Aug. 27 with the stunning disclosure that Craig had pleaded guilty to a reduced charge following his arrest June 11 in a Minneapolis airport men's room.

Craig at first tried to hold on to his position, contending that he had done nothing inappropriate and that his only mistake was pleading guilty Aug. 1 to the misdemeanor charge. But a growing chorus of Republican leaders called for him to step down to spare the party further embarrassment and possible harm in next year's elections.

U.S. President George W. Bush called Craig after the announcement and told him that he knew it was a difficult decision to make, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, said Craig "made a difficult decision, but the right one."

"It is my hope he will be remembered not for this, but for his three decades of dedicated public service," McConnell said. McConnell had been one of Craig's harshest critics, calling his actions "unforgivable."