NY mayoral candidate Weiner refuses to quit race despite new ‘sexting’ scandal
Democrat admits to lewd activity after being forced to step down in 2011
Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner’s wife of three years and mother to his son, stood awkwardly beside him during the press conference in which he addressed the “sexting” scandal, bowing her head when he blamed his behaviour on his marital problems. Photograph: Michael Appleton/The New York Times
New York’s tabloids had a field day. Anthony Weiner, the New York City mayoral candidate topping the polls in what had until yesterday been a stunning political comeback, has been exposed in another “sexting” scandal.
“Crotcha, Anthony” read a headline in the New York Daily News. “Meet Carlos Danger” blasted the New York Post, referring to the online alias that the former congressman used to exchange sexually explicit messages and photographs with a 22-year-old woman said to be from Indiana.
The fresh controversy blew up after a gossip website called The Dirty posted the X-rated messages and a pixelated photograph purported to be of Weiner’s penis. The website said the messages and photograph were sent after Weiner had resigned from Congress in June 2011 after it had emerged he sent lewd messages and photographs of his crotch to at least six women he had not met.
The woman told the website that even though Weiner used an alias she knew she was talking to the former congressman in an online relationship that started in July 2012 and lasted six months.
In a press conference hastily arranged to try to limit the damage to his campaign, Weiner refused to drop out of the mayoral race, despite intense pressure on him to stand aside.
Confessing to further explicit online conversations, even after he was forced from public office over similar lewd activity, the 48-year-old Democrat told reporters that he said previously that other texts and photographs were likely to come. He expressed surprised that more had not already surfaced.
“This is entirely behind me,” Weiner said during the evening press conference, though the online chatter in the Twitter-sphere and the saturated media coverage suggested it was anything but.
“I’m sure many of my opponents would like me to drop out of the race but I’m not going to do it,” he said, adding that he hoped New Yorkers were “willing to still continue to give me a second chance”.
Huma Abedin, Weiner’s wife of three years and mother to his son, stood awkwardly beside him during the press conference, bowing her head when he blamed his behaviour on his marital problems.
In her first news conference of the campaign, Abedin nervously defended her husband and opened up about how she had struggled to forgive him over his transgressions.
“It took a lot of work and a whole lot of therapy to get to a place where I could forgive Anthony. It was not an easy choice in any way, but I made the decision that it was worth staying in this marriage,” she said, speaking from prepared notes.
Huma’s stand was compared with her former boss Hillary Clinton who enjoyed a successful political career following her husband’s sex scandal.
Huma worked as a White House intern in the Clinton administration before becoming the travelling chief of staff for Hillary Clinton in her campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
An editorial in the New York Times called on Weiner to leave the mayoral race, saying that the “serially evasive Mr Weiner should take his marital troubles and personal compulsions out of the public eye”.
Predictably, three of his campaign rivals said he must pull out. “The side shows of this election have gotten in the way of the debate we should be having about the future of this city,” said Bill de Blasio.
In one of the “sexting” exchanges, in which Weiner fantasised about explicit sex acts, the former congressman, reported to be using the alias “Dangr33”, said: “I’m deeply flawed.”
Weiner’s flaws are being sensationally exposed for a second time.