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Rep. Anthony Weiner Resigns Amid Scandal

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rep. Anthony Weiner announced his resignation from Congress on Thursday, 10 days after he first admitted he had sexually charged online relationships with several women.

"Today, I am announcing my resignation from Congress," Weiner said Thursday.

Speaking at the Council Center for Seniors in Midwood Brooklyn, the married New York Congressman once thought of as a top contender for the 2013 mayor race stood alone at the podium, his wife, Huma Abedin, notably not by his side.

"I'm here today to again apologize for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused," he said reading from a brief statement. "I make this apology to my neighbors and my constituents, but I make it particularly to my wife, Huma."

Constituents Mixed on Resignation

As Weiner made his announcement in the same senior center where he kicked off his candidacy for the City Council in 1992, his constituents were mixed about his decision to resign.

"He should have done it earlier," Kelly Videgas, 28, said in Kew Gardens, Queens, Thursday. "It doesn't look good on us New Yorkers. The right thing to do was to resign."

Jon Abromowitz, 28, said he would have voted for Weiner again but felt the embattled politician had no choice but to step down.

"I do think he should've resigned because you can't function politically in a climate like this," he said. "Not because what I think eh did deserves resigning."

He added: "I liked him; I would've voted from him again."

Since the married politician confessed to sending a lewd photo of himself to a college student via Twitter last Monday, a flurry of suggestive images and correspondence surfaced in what became a mushrooming scandal that began not with a bang, but with a tweet.

Scandal That Began With a Tweet

The undoing for Weiner began with a late night tweet sent from the Congressman's Twitter account to a college student on May 27 that linked to a photo of what Weiner — who initially said he had been hacked — later confessed was an underwear-clad image of himself below the waist.   

Amid a flurry of new lewd photos and text exchanges, Weiner held a press conference on June 6, to take responsibility for the images, confess to a series of online relationships and say he did not plan to resign. Chairman of the Republican party Reince Priebus immediately called for Weiner's resignation.

Two days later, additional photos — including one that allegedly showed the politician nude — was leaked. Pressure for the embattled pol to resign ratcheted up over the weekend when it was revealed he had exchanged messages with a 17-year-old girl in Delaware.

Growing Calls for Resignation

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz urged him to step down.

Weiner resisted their calls, and opted instead to request a temporary leave of absence to seek treatment at an undisclosed location.

President Barack Obama said in an interview with NBC that aired Tuesday that if he were in Weiner's place, he would resign, calling the behavior "highly inappropriate." The House ethics committee opened a formal inquiry into his conduct, and Democratic leaders had planned to hold a meeting today to discuss possibly stripping the congressman of his committee assignments.

What's at Stake

At stake, beyond Weiner's personal political future, are some of the issues that Weiner fought for. With his resignation, the House stands to lose a champion for health care, workers' rights and marriage equality, among other things. Weiner has been a powerful advocate for progressive values, and his face was a familiar sight at city rallies and protests.

Lawmakers in New York, who have been trying to figure out a new configuration of political districts since the recent loss of one downstate seat, are eying the possibility of eliminating Weiner's Queens-Brooklyn seat altogether.

As for Weiner, he did not indicate what is next for him. "I'll be looking for other ways to contribute my talents. With God's work, we'll all be successful," he said as the raucous press conference concluded.

With reporting by Matt Joseloff

Anthony Weiner at his press conference announcing his resignation.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Anthony Weiner
Packed press conference at the Council Center for Seniors in Midwood, Brooklyn for former Rep. Anthony Weiner's resignation.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Packed press conference at the Council Center for Seniors in Midwood, Brooklyn for former Rep. Anthony Weiner's resignation.

Residents and supporter of former Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Residents and supporter of former Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Anthony Weiner
Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Packed press conference at the Council Center for Seniors in Midwood, Brooklyn for former Rep. Anthony Weiner's resignation.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Packed press conference at the Council Center for Seniors in Midwood, Brooklyn for former Rep. Anthony Weiner's resignation.

Residents and supporter of former Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Residents and supporter of former Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Howard Stern writer Benjy Brock disrupts Anthony Weiner's press conference.
Richard Yeh/WNYC

Howard Stern writer Benjy Brock disrupts Anthony Weiner's press conference.

Anthony Weiner
Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Council Center for Seniors in Midwood, Brooklyn where Anthony Weiner gave his resignation press conference.
Richard Yeh/WNYC

Council Center for Seniors in Midwood, Brooklyn where Anthony Weiner gave his resignation press conference.

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Comments [6]

Fuva from Harlemworld

Brenda, I hear you.
I also see a connection between all of the crises you name, and careless, reckless, slacking politicians who condescend to their constituents -- all things more or less on display in this weiner episode.
As much as possible, they must be checked and pressured to address these critical issues...

Jun. 16 2011 05:23 PM
Brenda

I know that he is known for speaking up for the right causes. Has he done anything toward those causes? I am not sure. But what I do know is that I am tired of hearing about his personal life while:
1. my gay friends, who love each other can't get married,
2. hard working undocumented students are not being given the opportunity for legalization,
3. my friends are still in the army/navy,
4. while schools around the country are getting budget cuts,
5. financial executives are still making big $$$ without any trouble,
6. and while Chevron is till trying to get out of paying the amazonian people of Ecuador for the mess they own.

Yes, these are the things that matter to me, not some picture online.

Jun. 16 2011 05:10 PM
Marcos Dinnerstein from The pulsing, heart of Manhattan

What happens to his seat in Congress until the next election. (even granting his seat will disappear) Will there be a special election that allows someone to finish out his term?

Jun. 16 2011 03:36 PM
Prof Iguana

Glad that the Weiner finally recognized that he had to resign. I called for it on day one of this scandal, and challenge my fellow progressives who tried to separate the Weiner's politics from his privates: defend this guy now? Being progressive means having integrity, not just having a commitment to social justice. In fact, the two go hand in hand. Weiner's resignation opens the door for another progressive to take his place.

Jun. 16 2011 01:42 PM

WNYC continues its biased coverage of Anthony Weiner, writing incorrectly that “Weiner has been a powerful advocate for progressive values” and that his resignation means “the House stands to lose a champion for health care, workers’ rights, and marriage equality”.

Weiner was nothing more than a “noisy” advocate for progressive values; he accomplished nothing major for health care, workers’ rights, or marriage equality.
He was far more concerned with grandstanding and putting his face out there than he was with passing progressive legislation.

Jun. 16 2011 01:10 PM
Bea K. from New York, NY

Now when the others liars and hypocrites follow him maybe congress can get something done.

Jun. 16 2011 11:55 AM

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