Three days before the official launch of his re-election bid, Mayor Vincent Gray offered a rather vague apology to the District for the federal corruption probe surrounding his 2010 campaign.
“Frankly, you know, the things that happened in my campaign, you know, were painful, they were embarrassing to me,” the Democrat said during a two-hour interview with WUSA 9’s Bruce Johnson. “They were things that I wish hadn’t happened, and I’m very sorry that those things happened.”
Gray said he wanted to apologize to people “about the campaign” while reiterating that he did not do anything wrong. “I can’t apologize for what other people did, but it was the Vincent Gray campaign. I understand that.”
During a Thursday appearance on Capitol Hill, Gray shrugged off further questions about his own compliance with U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.’s continuing investigation into the events of 2010, saying, “The interview speaks for itself.”
But D.C. voters can expect to hear more of the remorseful tone and a further explanation on Saturday, during Gray’s 2014 campaign kickoff, according to campaign manager Chuck Thies.
“The mayor will make clear on Saturday why he is apologizing and what he is apologizing for,” Thies told CQ Roll Call.
Questions about the 2010 race have not placed a cloud over Gray’s legacy in the minds of most D.C. residents, Thies claimed, adding that the campaign is prepared to handle any concerns coming its way.
Gray has not been charged with any wrongdoing and maintains he is not guilty. In previous media appearances, he declined to go into detail about 2010, opting to focus on the future. During the recent interview, Gray was asked if investigators are interested in looking at him. He said “no.”
Four people affiliated with the Gray campaign have pleaded guilty to felonies since prosecutors launched their probe in spring 2011. The charges stem from a secretly financed shadow campaign that aimed to tear down Gray’s opponents.
Many candidates in the crowded field running for the April 1 Democratic primary have criticized Gray for tainting city politics and are questioning his commitment to ethics.
The timing of the apology is purely coincidental, according to Gray.
“I have talked about it before and I’ve talked about it again,” he said during his Capitol Hill visit. “I just happened to do it in this particular way yesterday.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.