On Monday, CIA Director David H. Petraeus was among the most admired men in the country, with speculation swirling about his potential as a future presidential candidate.
On Friday, Petraeus resigned from his post, citing an extramarital affair. “Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours,” Petraeus wrote in a statement to the agency.
Petraeus’s fall from grace was as rapid and as steep as any in memory in political Washington. He had moved seamlessly over the past few years from being a heavily decorated Army officer to the point man for the U.S. war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq to the head of the country’s intelligence agency, always with a reputation as a star of stars.
While there were reports of tension between Petraeus and President Obama over the handling of the attack in Benghazi, Libya (Petraeus traveled to the region recently to oversee the investigation into what happened), there was little indication that he might step aside, particularly because of marital infidelity.
Petraeus’s resignation silences — probably forever — chatter that the retired general might seek the presidency. In the hours between reports of his meeting at the White House on Thursday and his resignation, a “Petraeus 2016” boomlet lit up social media. Whoops!
David Petraeus, for going from one of the most respected men in the country to just another disgraced public official, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at email@example.com.