U.S. Rep. Ben Quayle said that he did not bear witness to a fellow lawmaker who took a naked swim in the Sea of Galilee during an educational trip to Israel.
“I was not there, nor did I see anything that was going on,” said Quayle on News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos of Rep. Kevin Yoder, whose August 2011 swim was first reported by Politico.
Quayle said that he, his wife and other lawmakers were attending a “very nice” dinner on the coast of the holy sea and were told as a group that, if they wanted to take a swim, after dinner would be their only opportunity. It was common knowledge that other groups had taken a swim on the same type of trip.
Quayle said that, while he and his wife were present, everyone was clothed and no one was intoxicated.
“I didn’t see anything that was inappropriate whatsoever,” he said.
According to Quayle, the story told by Politico is one that is “inaccurate at best,” and the FBI sources never had any contact with him, his wife, his staff or anyone on the trip.
“They’re trying to give some validity to the picture they’re trying to paint,” he said.
Quayle did not deny the fact that Yoder’s actions were inappropriate and embarrassing, but said the lawmaker told him he regretted it.
Quayle called into question the timing of the report, as his primary against Rep. David Schweikert is slated for next week. Both have not run clean campaigns.
“It seems kind of funny that something like this became out before the primary…it really unveils the character of David Schweikert because he’s trying to smear me,” said Quayle, adding that both Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jon Kyl both told him that Schweikert is running a “sleazy” campaign.
Quayle said that Schweikert’s 9:00 p.m. press availability on Sunday night at his home further showed his rival was moving to smear his name.
While Quayle was originally quiet on the incident, he seemed to change his opinion.
“I’m happy this came out,” he said. “I didn’t do anything.”