Weiner’s pulled out!
Scandal-scarred Rep. Anthony Weiner, who’s admitted to having raunchy online romances with at least six women, resigned from Congress this afternoon at the exact spot where his political career began — in Midwood.
“Today I announce my resignation, so my colleagues can get back to work and my neighbors choose a new representative,” he said, apologizing to the House, his constituents and his wife, Huma Abedin.
After a 10-minute statement that featured some flashes of the old, cocky Weiner, he left the stage without taking any questions.
His resignation, which was encouraged by President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–California), comes as the congressman’s randy Twitter scandal, known as “Weinergate,” entered its third week.
The lurid online romances first came to light on May 27, when Weiner (D-Sheepshead Bay) tried to send a soft-core tweet of his groin to a 21-year-old Seattle co-ed, but accidentally sent the picture to all of his 50,000 Twitter followers.
The seven-term legislator lied about sending the twisted tweet — claiming that his Twitter account was hacked — for an entire week, but came clean on June 6, when he admitted to sending the raunchy photo and having online sexual relationships with several women over the last three years.
At the time, Weiner was firm in denying that he would step down, claiming he hadn’t used congressional computers or phones for his cyber dalliances, but pressure from democratic colleagues and revelations that he had phone sex on his private office line and tweeted pictures of himself in a towel inside the Congressional gym forced him to change his mind.
Unrelenting media coverage had also made him a raunchy gift that kept on giving, making his position increasingly untenable.
He quickly lost the public’s trust as the scandal continued: a June 8 NY1 poll showed that 56 percent of the congressman’s constituents wanted him to stay put, but a nationwide poll released on Tuesday showed that 60 percent of Democrats wanted him to leave office.
Weiner, a liberal firebrand known as the “Midwood Mouth,” began his career in elective office in 1992 as a councilman serving both Midwood and Sheepshead Bay after winning a hotly contested four-way general race. Weiner succeeded then-Rep. Chuck Schumer when Schumer went to the Senate in 1999.
His press conference today at 2 pm was on Quentin Road near Coney Island Avenue — at a senior center where Weiner declared himself a candidate for City Council all those years ago.
After his brief remarks, Weiner left the building at roughly 2:26 pm.
The first statement we received after Weiner’s resignation came in at 2:33 pm — from the office of Rep. Ed Towns (D–Fort Greene).
“Despite his personal problems, Rep. Weiner was an extremely effective lawmaker who had a positive impact on his constituents and the nation as a whole,” the congressman said. “He championed many causes, and was tireless in his efforts to make life better for all Americans. His voice will be missed. My heart goes out to Anthony Weiner and his family at this difficult time and I hope forgiveness and reconciliation rules the day. I wish them only the best.”
Local insiders were also sad to see Weiner leave office.
“It’s a shame, he had such potential,” said Democratic District Leader Michael Gellar (D–Sheepshead Bay). “In my opinion, he was the best communicator I’d seen since Reagan. He had a tremendous amount of talent.”
Overall, Brooklynites were divided on whether Weiner should resign.
Charles Clark, a resident of Sheepshead Bay, thought Weiner should pack it in.
“Congressmembers shouldn’t be doing what he’s done,” he said.
But others were a little more understanding.
“We should leave the decision of whether he stays or goes to Weiner’s congressional district, not the democratic leadership,” said Rachel Venning, the co-founder of Babeland, a sex shop in Park Slope. “What he did was rude, intrusive, sexist and stupid, but since when does that mean a pol has to go?”
Check back for more news about Weiner’s resignation throughout the day.