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Texas Republican Apologizes for 'Judgment' After Nude Selfie Circulates Online

Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-Texas), left, and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) walk to a meeting at the Capitol in Washington on Sept. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — A Texas Republican apologized for his “judgment” today after a naked selfie of the congressman circulated from an anonymous Twitter account along with a lewd text message.

It wasn’t clear if the photo of Rep. Joe Barton was posted as revenge porn; in Texas, it’s a misdemeanor to post images “depicting another person with the person’s intimate parts exposed or engaged in sexual conduct” without consent. The image of a text message from “Joe B.,” accompanying the nude pic with a date of March 13 but no year, said, “I want you soo bad. Right now. Deep and hard.”

“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women,” Barton said in a statement. “Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.”

Barton, 68, was divorced in 2015. He has four children.

The congressman’s office said he had no intention of resigning.

“You’re as aware of what was posted as I am,” he told the Texas Tribune. “I am talking to a number of people, all of whom I have faith in and am deciding how to respond, quite frankly.”

Barton, who is the dean of the Texas delegation, is the 9th most senior member of the House of Representatives. He  serves as vice chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

“In Congress, I have made it a priority to promote free market principles and pass legislation to create jobs, so that more and more Americans can prosper. Much work remains in Washington and hope to carry on the torch for the 6th District. I look forward to the upcoming primary election in Texas,” he said while announcing his re-election campaign on Nov. 3.

“I will continue to implement a conservative, pro job growth agenda that empowers businesses and families, reduces regulatory burdens and encourage entrepreneurship throughout Texas,” he added. “I will as always continue to uphold a high level of constituent service to all those who live in the 6th District.”