NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Tennessee Republican Congressman Doctor Scott Desjarlais forges ahead, despite calls for his resignation after a scandal involving a mistress and abortion rights.
On Friday, Desjarlais sat down with NewsChannel 5 for the first time since the November election. Congressman Doctor Scott Desjarlais seemed reluctant to apologize to constituents for misleading them during the campaign. On Inside Politics he skated around allegations he encouraged an abortion and had affairs with some of his patients.
"You're asking if I owe constituents an apology- certainly, from my personal shortcomings that I've had in the past. I've learned from them. But did you lie about that when they came out because you said they were garbage, meaning they were not true. When you say what is true and untrue there are 700 pages in a transcript and they have picked parts of them out," he said.
Afterwards he came a lot closer to telling the people who elected him that he was sorry.
"No, it's not that I don't want to apologize for. Anything that I've done to hurt anybody I certainly apologize. I acknowledge by personal failures, and this has been an ongoing thing and I've been on shows and I have apologized," he continued.
Early in October, a recorded phone conversation was released in which DesJarlais, speaking with an alleged mistress, suggests to the woman they travel to Atlanta get an abortion. DesJarlais said that the woman in question was not pregnant at the time of their conversation.
Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a Jasper physician who opposes abortion rights, sent a letter to his supporters saying that the relationship with a patient occurred while DesJarlais was separated from his first wife. He acknowledged he was going through a difficult divorce at the time, and blamed his ex-wife, the congressman he defeated in 2010 and his Democratic opponent for publicizing details from his past.
After the scandal there were calls for his resignation. Some of his campaign contributors have already said they will support someone else in 2014, but Desjarlais said his constituents still support him.
"I would say as I travel through the district the rhetoric that's in the news and in the newspapers is not matched by my constituents. They've told me to continue to do my job," said Desjarlais.
Desjarlais also said it may take a government shutdown in two months to fix the out of control spending. and he's not happy with President Obama's executive orders on gun control.
"Executive orders are going way beyond what they were intended to be used for with this president. He cannot continue to bypass Congress. We have legislators that will look at this in an open fashion and hopefully make good decisions moving forward," he explained.
Tennessee's medical board is reviewing Desjarlais' medical license. A complaint was filed against him from Washington during the campaign.
The Congressman said he is cooperating with investigators, and he is hoping for a quick resolution.
Desjarlais is flying out of Nashville Saturday for Washington to attend the Inauguration of President Obama on Monday.