“I’m a private citizen now,” he said when asked whether he was seeking a new commission. “Why are you even calling me?”
A short time later, he called The Post back to make a short statement.
“I still talk to people in the Navy,” he said. “But I’m not applying to the Navy or returning to the Navy. I loved my time there, but it’s over.”
Murphy, 65, left the military in September within days of acknowledging having an affair with a 32-year-old woman. He continued with his eighth term in Congress at the time but resigned from office the following month after text messages emerged in a divorce case for the woman, Shannon Edwards, showing that she had called him out privately for often espousing opposition to abortion in public while having “no issue asking me to abort our unborn child.”
Murphy also ran a congressional office with a culture of emotional abuse, Politico reported in October, citing allegations from several officials on Capitol Hill. Concerns among senior Republicans about that becoming public after news of the affair broke helped push him out, the report said.
Murphy’s comments to The Post came after Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) sent the chief of U.S. naval operations, Adm. John M. Richardson, a letter questioning why Murphy should be allowed back in.
“Due to a timely resignation as an officer and difficulties investigating reservists’ misconduct while not on military duty, it appears that Murphy got lucky and secured an honorable discharge,” Speier wrote June 25. “Yet, somewhat inexplicably, Murphy is apparently attempting to recommission.”
A Navy official with knowledge of the situation said Murphy had started discussions with the service in an attempt to return. The issue had drawn concern from some officers, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.
A spokesman at Navy headquarters said he could not discuss the case but confirmed that the service received a letter from Speier, the leading Democrat on the House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel.
“We can confirm that the Navy did receive correspondence from the representative, but it would be inappropriate for us to discuss or comment on the information,” said the spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Day. “The Navy will respond to the representative in an appropriate time and manner.”
Murphy, a trained psychologist, joined the Navy in January 2009 as a medical service corps officer while serving in Congress and reached the rank of commander before leaving the military Sept. 11, Day said.
Murphy acknowledged his affair to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sept. 6. He was assigned to a volunteer training unit in Washington and previously with a health-support unit at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center just north of the nation’s capital. He did not deploy.
Speier, asked about her letter to the Navy, said in a statement that congressional representatives and naval officers alike should be held to the highest ethical standards.
“Former Rep. Murphy’s actions disqualify him from further service in either capacity,” she said. “The fact that former Rep. Murphy resigned from Congress and from the Navy shows that he understands that. This isn’t a partisan issue, it’s a question of who is appropriate to represent the Navy’s core values of honor, courage, and commitment.”
Julie Tate contributed to this report.