President Barack Obama exerted more pressure on Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner whose reputation had been compromised after a scandal dealing with Representative’s inappropriate pictures, which he had sent via Twitter and other social media.
Obama said in his NBC interview: “I think he’s embarrassed himself. He’s acknowledged that. He’s embarrassed his wife and his family. Ultimately, there’s gonna be a decision for him and his constituents. I can tell you that, if it was me, I would resign.”
President added: “When you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can’t serve as effectively as you need to at the time when people are worrying about jobs, and their mortgages, and paying the bills, then you should probably step back.”
On May 27, 2011, Weiner sent a link via Twitter to an indecent photograph showing his erect penis concealed by briefs to a 21-year-old woman in Bellingham, Washington, who was “following” him on the social media website. He initially said he had not posted the image, and that his account had been “hacked.”
“Last Friday night I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle,” Weiner said in his statement. “Once I realized I had posted to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down and said I had been hacked. I then continued to stick to that story which was a hugely regrettable mistake.”
On June 6, 2011, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart posted a cropped shirtless picture Weiner had sent to another woman on his BigGovernment.com blog, and indicated that there were more.
Later Weiner held a press conference at which he apologized, saying “I have not been honest with myself, my family, my constituents, my friends and supporters, and the media” and that, “to be clear, the pictures were of me, and I sent them.”
He further stated that he had been involved in “six inappropriate relationships over the past three years” using Twitter and other media. Answering questions, he said that he had his wife’s continuing support, and that he did not intend to resign his congressional seat. Wiener’s wife Huma Abedin is an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Abedin is expected to return from a trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Tuesday. She is still wearing her wedding ring, what indicates that she is going to support her husband in this scandal.
After Weiner’s press conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced that she had requested an investigation by the House Ethics Committee to determine “whether any official resources were used or any other violation of House rules occurred”.
She also said: ‘Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the recognition that he needs help. I urge him to seek that help without the pressures of being a Member of Congress.’
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the head of the Democratic National Committee, said: ‘It is with great disappointment that I call on him to resign. The behavior he has exhibited is indefensible and continued service in Congress is untenable.’
On June 8, Weiner’s spokeswoman commented, concerning an explicit nude picture of erect genitalia leaked through the The Opie & Anthony Show: “As Representative Weiner said on Monday when he took responsibility for his actions, he has sent explicit photos”.
According to the latest reports Wiener sent his half-naked photos to some woman from the locker room of a gym for House members. That means that his inappropriate behavior took place at federal property.
He is also supposed to be involved in internet-flirting with a 17-year girl and with a gym teacher and cheerleading coach at the Young Women’s Christian Organisation. He was sending messages to them via social media. However, members of the girl’s family say that the messages were harmless.
On June 9, a NY1-Marist Poll showed that 56% of registered voters in Weiner’s Congressional District wanted him to stay in Congress, and 33% thought he should resign, with 12% uncertain.
Jay Carney, White House spokesman, said: ‘The President feels, we feel at the White House, this is a distraction. Obviously, as Congressman Weiner has said himself, his behavior was inappropriate, his dishonesty was inappropriate, but the President is focused on his job, getting this economy continuing to grow, creating jobs and obviously ensuring the safety and security of the American people.’
If Weiner resigns he will lose his $156,117 salary and will probably have troubles with his debts, as according to financial disclosure forms, he owes between $10,000 and $15,000 on his American Express card. Anthony Weiner and his wife put their New York apartment for sale three days after the beginning of the scandal.
Now Representative Weiner is reported to have entered a treatment center to deal with his imprudent online behavior connected with sending photographs and messages to at least six women during the past three years. The House granted him a two-week leave of absence on Monday.