Rep. Ben Quayle and his wife sat down with CBS 5 News to respond to accusations that he was one of several Congressmen that jumped into the Sea of Galilee last summer during a drunken party type atmosphere during a Republican trip to Israel.
Quayle admitted he went in the Sea, but under very different circumstances than those reported by Politico Sunday night.
"I was properly attired. I had shorts on and went in very briefly, very quietly. I was never a part of any group that jumped into the water. It was something that I wanted to do by myself in an individual capacity," Quayle said.
Quayle said he did it for spiritual reasons, and to bring a sample of the water home for a significant reason.
"I entered for 30 seconds. I was able to feel the Sea of Galilee and take that vial back home with me so we can baptize our daughter with it," Quayle said.
At the time of the trip, Quayle's wife, Tiffany, was 8 1/2 months pregnant with their first child, Evie.
Quayle said he and his wife had already left the area when Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, admitted he took off his clothes and went in the water.
"Nothing inappropriate took place while I was around. I do not know what happened after I left, after Tiffany and I left," Quayle said.
Quayle said implying that he took part in anything inappropriate because someone else may have, is just politicking on the part of his main opponent in the upcoming primary electing, Rep. David Schweikert.
"For my opponent, who has been taking this and running with this, to smear this and to change it from what it was, which was a very positive experience, I think really shows a lot about his character," Quayle said.
Tiffany Quayle said she did not see anything inappropriate go on that night, and she's saddened that people are trying to ruin memories of a beautiful trip for a beautiful purpose to play politics.
"There aren't many trips that I would have taken at 8 1/2 months pregnant other than a trip to Israel. And for me, from a spiritual place, that's something that I will treasure for forever. And that specific night and bringing water back to baptize our little girl on her first birthday, is something that's incredibly special to me," said the congressman's wife.
Ben Quayle said he does not believe the FBI investigated the incident as reported by Politico. He said he was never questioned about the incident by the FBI. And he knows no one who was.
Ben Quayle also refuted reports that Majority Leader Eric Cantor rebuked the members of Congress the next day for their behavior.
"He didn't rebuke anybody individually. I specifically was not rebuked because I didn't do anything wrong. It was more along the lines of, 'hey guys, let's just focus on what we're doing. We have a couple of days left let's refocus on what the meaning of the trip is,'" said Ben Quayle, referring to what Cantor said.
But when asked what Cantor was referring to and why he would have to "refocus" the group, Quayle said he wasn't sure why the trip leader said what he did.
Copyright 2012 KPHO(Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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