Arriving late for his 2 p.m. press conference, a once firm – yet defiant – Representative Anthony Weiner, (D – N.Y.) has resigned from Congress. Although almost the entire Congressional leadership had called upon him to step down, it was not clear what convinced Weiner to make the final move.
Weiner’s decision to resign followed revelations that he exchanged sexually explicit messages and photographs of himself with women he met through online social networks. The embattled New York congressman admitted sending a lewd photograph of his underwear-clad crotch to a young woman over Twitter, and then repeatedly lied about it.
Weiner refused to resign after Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D – CA) called for a House ethics investigation.
Weiner refused to resign even after Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D – FL) stated that “this sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction for Representative Weiner, his family, his constituents and the House – and for the good of all, he should step aside and address those things that should be most important: his and his family’s well-being.”
Weiner refused to resign after President Barack Obama stated to NBC’s Ann Curry that Weiner had “embarrassed himself” and that “if it was me, I would resign.”
Weiner refused to resign after former porn star Ginger Lee said she has been in touch with Weiner and followed him on Twitter. Although Lee said he did not send her any lewd photographs, she claimed Weiner did try to steer the conversations between them in a sexual direction. Lee said she did not respond to his efforts. She also said Weiner had asked her to lie about their correspondence, and said in a press conference that he should resign “for lying to the public for a week.”
Weiner remained defiant in his refusal to resign even after new photographs popped up on the Internet and in the National Enquirer showing Weiner dressed in a bra and pantyhose during his college years.
The straw that broke the camel’s back might have been the return of his pregnant wife, Huma Abedin, from a week-long trip to Africa with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Weiner, 46, has been at an undisclosed treatment facility since last weekend and has not been seen in public since telling reporters on Saturday that he intended to return to work following a short leave of absence.
Supporters were against Weiner resigning decrying that the now-former congressman did nothing to warrant leaving office. Unlike former President Bill Clinton, he did not cheat on his wife and his private life was his personal business, they said.
But another New York congressman, Republican Christopher Lee, was forced to resign for much less, namely sending a shirtless photo of himself over Craigslist to a woman.
“Weiner resigning from Congress is not only a good thing for him and his family, but his constituents,” stated Richard DeNapoli, Chairman of the Broward Republican Party, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and home of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Before getting married last July to Huma Abedin, a Hillary Rodham Clinton aide, Weiner, had been one of New York City’s most eligible bachelors. In a strange twist, former President Bill Clinton officiated over the Weiner nuptials.
Weiner began his career as a legislative assistant to then-Rep. Chuck Schumer, who is now New York’s senior senator. He was elected to the New York City Council before winning Schumer’s House seat in 1998, representing parts of Brooklyn and Queens. Ironically, Weiner’s seat is predominantly Republican.
Weiner had initially gained a national profile during the debate over President Barack Obama’s health care plan when he outspokenly professed support for a government-run program which would cover all Americans and later a “public option” to compete with private health insurance.
Weiner had once hoped to be Mayor of New York City.
A special election will now be held to replace former Representative Anthony Weiner. No word on his mayoral hopes.