Anthony Weiner made it clear that he is not dropping out of the race for mayor in light of his latest sexting scandal, as he campaigned at a senior center in Downtown Flushing on Monday.
The seniors at the Nan Shan Senior Center off Main Street were chatting and playing board games while awaiting lunch when Weiner arrived to talk to the crowd.
Raymond Chan, one of the seniors at the center, was looking forward to the ex-congressman’s appearance.
“This is my first time seeing a politican,” Chan said, as dozens of cameras were being set up and a member of the campaign was taping posters to the wall of the cafeteria.
“I’m going to vote — it’s my right,” Chan said, adding that many of the seniors at the center do vote. But Chan also explained that the timing of the appearance wasn’t ideal. “It’s lunchtime — the seniors want lunch. If he came here earlier or later, it’s good. The timing should be changed.”
Weiner greeted the seniors by saying “Ni hao,” “hello” in Chinese, and then attempted to speak in their native language, without much of a response. He then joked, “I was practicing in the car all the way here and I still got it wrong,” which did get a laugh from the audience after Flushing civic leader Ethel Chen translated.
Weiner spoke about issues concerning senior citizens, including safety when crossing streets, senior centers and English lessons.
“We have to make it possible for seniors to find affordable housing, and the senior housing that is available can’t have a waiting list of 10 years if it’s going to work,” Weiner said. “We have to make it safer for seniors, not only in their homes, but also we have to make it safer for them to cross the street where it’s getting more and more dangerous every day.”
Weiner emphasized that he plans on fighting for the middle class and those struggling in New York City.
“I hope that by the end of this campaign I’ll learn to say ‘the middle class and those struggling to make it’ in Mandarin,” he said, and ended his speech with, “But there is no way I’m going to get elected if I delay lunch anymore, so thank you very much. Xie-xie.”
Soon after the speech, reporters swarmed Weiner, who exited the cafeteria quickly. On the street outside the senior center, Weiner did not answer questions about who is now running his campaign after his campaign manager, Danny Kedem, recently resigned.
“I don’t take my cues on policy from the Sunday talk shows listening to pundits — I never have,” Weiner said in response to political figures such as David Axelrod saying that Weiner should quit the race. “I don’t take my cues from the headline writers in the newspapers — I never have.”
He continued, “Those are the very same people that didn’t want me to run, that didn’t want New Yorkers to have this choice in the first place. I’m going to keep talking about the things important to this city. I don’t really care if a lot of pundits or politicians are offended by it. I’m going to keep doing those things and I think New Yorkers deserve that choice. I’m going to let New Yorkers decide.”