Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada said Thursday it would be best for the Senate and the GOP if Sen. Larry Craig resigned, but stopped short of calling for the Idaho Republican's resignation over his arrest in an airport men's room.
"I wouldn't put myself, hopefully, in that kind of a position like that but if I was in a position like that, I think that's what I would do," Ensign told The Associated Press. "He's going to have to answer that for himself... I think the pressure will continue to build."
Craig, 62, pleaded guilty earlier this month to a charge stemming from an undercover police operation last June in a Minneapolis airport bathroom.
Ensign, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said he was a driving force in the GOP leadership's decision Wednesday to ask Craig to step down from key committee posts, which Craig did.
"You should not be in a position of leadership, especially because he admitted guilt," Ensign told AP in an interview after touring a geothermal plant in Reno.
"This wasn't like he's been charged with something but yet he denied it. He admitted guilt. He plead guilty. It's a little different situation than just being accused of something," he said.
Ensign said Craig's resignation clearly would be in the interest of the Republican Party.
"That's obvious," he said. He said Craig ultimately may decide to resign, especially if the Senate Ethics Committee decides to hold public hearings.
"We'll see whether Larry wants to put himself through that," Ensign said. "I can't imagine him wanting to put his family through that or the Senate through that, but we'll see."
"You never know what people will do in these situations," he said.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)