The Question: Will Anthony Weiner’s sexting damage Hillary Clinton?

The Democratic presidential candidate’s aide Huma Abedin has left her husband. It’s over an embarrassment that Trump and the Republicans will keep retweeting about

Sexting: Anthony Weiner and his now estranged wife, Huma Abedin, in 2013. Photograph: Eric Thayer/Reuters

Sexting: Anthony Weiner and his now estranged wife, Huma Abedin, in 2013. Photograph: Eric Thayer/Reuters

 

This week Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin announced she was ending her marriage to the former congressman Anthony Weiner, after the latest in a line of sexting scandals that have dogged the couple since 2011.

The New York Post published sexual messages Weiner had sent to a woman; he also sent a picture of himself in his underwear, in a state of partial arousal, with his four-year-old son asleep by his side.

All this was while Abedin was on the campaign trail with Clinton; she was in the Hamptons when she got the latest about her husband and announced she was leaving him soon after. “After long and painful consideration, and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband. ”

Abedin had stood by her husband through two previous sexting scandals, but as Clinton’s campaign is going into its home run it was time to jettison this liability.

Donald Trump jumped gleefully on the scandal, claiming Weiner’s behaviour is compromising national security. “I only worry for the country, in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information. Who knows what he learned and who he told? It’s just another example of Hillary Clinton’s bad judgment.”

The question many are asking is why Abedin didn’t dump Weiner sooner. The first scandal, in 2011, destroyed his career in Congress; the second, in 2013, scuppered his bid to become mayor of New York; the third, this week, has ended his marriage. (The mayoral-campaign debacle was captured in a documentary to be aired in October.)

For Abedin the next few weeks will be a damage-limitation exercise. She’ll be hoping that the public will move on, too, but you can be sure the Republican campaign will retweet this embarrassing episode for some time to come.

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