In the same room he began his political career 20 years ago, Rep. Anthony Weiner tendered his resignation from Congress after an intensive 3-week period that began when he sent an inappropriate picture via Twitter to a 21 year-old college student in Washington State. Weiner’s problems began May 28 when commentator website of Andrew Breitbart posted a photo with inappropriate content and said it was sent from Weiner’s Twitter account to a Seattle woman.
Democratic Party leaders welcomed the announcement of Weiner’s resignation after days spent trying to coax, push and finally coerce the wayward 46-year-old into quitting. Most of the House leadership had already called for his resignation, and President Barack Obama made a similar suggestion in an interview Tuesday. Known as brash, liberal and ambitious, Weiner had been expected to run for mayor of New York, as he had done in 2005. He was in his seventh term in Congress.
“His life and breath was here, outside of his family,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), who wouldn’t say if he has spoken to Weiner this week. Turning to a reporter, Pascrell added: “Just picture yourself if they took that pencil and pad away from you and said, ‘Because of this thing, you didn’t break any laws, you can’t write anymore. You have to find something else to do.’ You know, it’s an empty feeling.” Bill also stated:“A lot of folks that knew him, we have empty feelings. But we get up and do the job that we’re paid for.”
Democratic Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) also wouldn’t comment on his conversations with Weiner and said he would have more to say after Weiner’s press conference. But Israel said his position on the matter has been clear all long. “I’ve had repeated conversations with Congressman Weiner in which I expressed my strong feelings that he should resign for the good of himself, his family, Members of Congress and the country,” he said.
Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) commended party leaders for the way they have dealt with the situation and concurred that Weiner is doing the right thing by stepping down.“I think our leadership handled this very well, and if Mr. Weiner is resigning I think he ultimately handled it well as well,” he said.
Weiner made the announcement of resignation at the same senior citizen center in Brooklyn where he announced his candidacy for the New York City Council in 1992. He was clear and direct in his statements and did not offer tedious evasions.Anthony refused to answer questions, leaving unaddressed whether he envisioned the resignation as the final end of his political career, or a pause of unknown duration. “Now I’ll be looking for other ways to contribute my talents so that we live up to that most New York and American of ideals,” he stated.
“I’m here today to again apologize for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused. I make this apology to my neighbors and my constituents, but I make it particularly to my wife, Huma,” Weiner said in his announcement.
Pregnant with the couple’s first child, Huma was absent as she had been 10 days ago when Weiner first admitted sending messages and photos with inappropriate content to women online, after earlier denying he had done so. It was clear from his brief farewell appearance, that he initially hoped the controversy would fade but then understood “the distraction that I have created has made that impossible.”
Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic leader of San Francisco, expressed her attitude to issue in a statement released after Weiner announced his resignation:”Congressman Weiner exercised poor judgment in his actions and poor judgment in his reaction to the revelations. Today, he made the right judgment in resigning.”
On Wednesday former porn star Ginger Lee, who exchanged e-mails and Twitter messages with him, held a bizarre press conference in which she said Weiner had tried to persuade her to lie about their interactions. [via The NY Times, San Francisco Chronicle and The Huff Post]