Rep. Anthony Weiner announces his resignation from Congress during a press conference in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June …Just three weeks after insisting that his Twitter account had been hacked-and then admitting that he'd lied-New York Representative Anthony Weiner has announced that he's giving up his congressional seat after sending lewd photos and sexual messages to at least six women online.
"I'm here to apologize for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment that I have caused," Weiner said on Thursday, speaking from the same senior center in Brooklyn where he launched his campaign for City Council 20 years ago. "I make this apology to my neighbors and my constituents but I make it particularly to my wife Huma."
"I had hoped to be able to continue the work that my constituents elected me to do-to fight for the middle class and those struggling to make it," he continued. "Unfortunately, the distraction that I myself have created has made that impossible. So today I'm announcing my resignation from Congress."
Some people at the press conference cheered; a heckler yelled "Good-bye, pervert!" as Weiner made his announcement.
During his four-minute-long speech, Weiner said that his wife of less than a year, Huma Abedin, "stood with me through this entire difficult period." Abedin, who is deputy chief of staff and aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, returned from a business trip to Africa on Wednesday but did not appear at her husband's press conference.
The night before, Weiner told Representative Nancy Pelosi of California and Representative Steve Israel of New York that he had decided to resign, a Democratic official told the New York Times.
Though at the beginning of this week Weiner still insisted that he was seeking treatment and had no plans to resign, it seemed that his colleagues were set on showing him the door. Democratic party leaders were getting ready to decide whether Weiner should lose his committee assignments. Because of redistricting already underway in New York, his district may be up for elimination. And the House ethics committee formally opened an inquiry into his online actions, including revelations on June 10 that he had exchanged messages with a 17-year-old girl in Delaware; given that the committee only has jurisdiction over members of Congress, his resignation effectively ends the investigation.
"Congressman Weiner exercised poor judgment in his actions and poor judgment in his reaction to the revelations," House minority leader Pelosi said in a statement. "Today, he made the right judgment in resigning."
"Anthony has been a strong advocate for his community and an influential legislator, New York Representative Joseph Crowley said in a statement of his own. "Although I was deeply disappointed in his behavior, this is a sad way to end his congressional service. I know Anthony and Huma well and I know brighter days are ahead for them and their family."
Up until the sexting scandal went public, Weiner was considered a contender for the Mayor's office, and some of his constituents are still staunch supporters.
"We really appreciate what he's done for us," Ruth Rootenberg, a 30-year resident, told CNN. "What he did on a personal level isn't something we approve of."
But, she added, "His constituents are behind him.... There's always a chance."
Democratic Representative Ed Towns of New York agreed, telling CNN that he thought Weiner could "bounce back and run for something else, and knowing him, he probably will."
While his wife's absence from the press conference seems to indicate that she's going to concentrate on her career and let him solve his own problems, Weiner's resignation speech hinted that he hopes to keep a foot in the political door. "The middle class story of New York is my story, and I'm very proud of that," he told the crowd. "I got into politics to help give voice to the many who simply did not have one. Now I'll be looking for other ways to contribute my talents to make sure that we live up to that most New York and American of ideals."
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