Embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner’s behavior “crossed the threshold” that requires him to resign, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz said Sunday. Her call was echoed by Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking Democrat in the House.
The renewed push from top Democrats for Weiner’s resignation came as the Web site TMZ released photos that the Brooklyn Democrat took of himself posing in the congressional gym in the basement of the Rayburn House Office Building. TMZ said Weiner, whose wife is a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had sent the photos to one of the women with whom he had exchanged sexual messages via the Internet.
Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Wasserman-Schultz said that when Weiner’s cybersex scandal first made headlines two weeks ago, her party’s leaders had tried to give the New York Democrat “breathing room” in the hope that Weiner would “do the right thing, make a decision, reach the conclusion that he needed to step back, and step down on his own.” Hoyer, appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation, said Weiner cannot “effectively proceed” as a member of Congress.
On Saturday, Wasserman-Schultz joined House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign committee, in calling for Weiner to resign. The congressman admitted at a June 6 press conference that he sent graphic messages, including lewd photos, to women with whom he had what he called “online relationships.”
Friday, Weiner admitted he had also engaged in private communications with a 17-year-old Delaware girl, although he said those messages were “neither explicit nor indecent.” Delaware police, who questioned the girl and her parents Friday, have said their investigation found no evidence of criminal behavior by the congressman.
Weiner has asked for a leave of absence from Congress, saying he will seek “treatment” for his problems. Congress reconvenes Monday from a weeklong recess.