By Justin Sink
Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) apologized Sunday night after reports surfaced that he was among more than a dozen congressional leaders and staff who swam in the Sea of Galilee during a fact-finding trip to Israel last August — and that the lawmaker stripped naked before jumping into the holy site.
"I feel incredibly remorseful that I have caused embarrassment to my constituents and I have caused folks who believe in me to be disappointed," Yoder told the Kansas City Star. "The gravity of the situation and the actions I've taken are not lost on me, and I feel certainly regret at what has occurred, and I just want to apologize to my constituents for a momentary lapse in judgment."
Yoder insisted to the paper that alcohol was not involved in his decision to dive into the water, saying that while he had wine with dinner, he was not drunk.
The Sea of Galilee is the site where the Bible says Jesus walked on water. According to a report, other Republican congressmen, including Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) also swam during the trip, although Yoder is the only one said to have stripped naked. The group was reportedly chastised later during the trip by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the senior member on the trip, who was not present for the incident.
Despite reports that the FBI had investigated the incident, Yoder told the Star that neither he nor members of his staff had been questioned by the agency.
The incident was first reported by Politico.