A tearful and apologetic Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens and Brooklyn) admitted today that he had lied about his Twitter account being hacked, that the raunchy photo of an aroused man that started the so-called Weinergate scandal was in fact his and that he has had a series of online relationships with at least six women over the past three years.
The congressman did not resign, as it had been rumored he might do before his afternoon press conference in Manhattan, and said that to the best of his knowledge he had not used any government resources when contacting the women.
Married for less than a year, Weiner repeatedly said he was apologizing to his wife, family, staffers, the media and everyone else he had lied to.
“I’ve brought pain to people I cared about the most, and people who believed in me, and for that I am terribly sorry,” the seventh-term congressman said.
Pressed by a reporter, Weiner eventually apologized specifically to Andrew Breitbart, the conservative blogger who first reported the existence of the photo that started the scandal about 10 days ago, a self-taken shot of an aroused man in boxer briefs. In a bizarre turn of events, Breitbart himself went to the Manhattan hotel where the press conference was to take place and took over the mike before Weiner arrived, to tell his side of events.
The congressman said he had not had an actual relationship with any of the women and that his wife, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, knew about some of the online contacts before they were married. He said, however, that she did not know until this morning that the underwear photo was his. He said his wife was not happy and very disappointed, but that she loves him and “wants us to pull through this.”
Weiner also said that his terrible personal judgment does not reflect on his service in office, but that if a constituent decided to no longer support him over the controversy, he would understand. He alternately described his actions as shameful, inappropriate, dumb, destructive and other similar words. He also said, in response to a question, that alcohol was not a factor in what he did and that he does not use drugs.
Weiner had been considered a top candidate for mayor in 2013 before the scandal broke.