Acknowledging that his conduct had become too much of a distraction for him to be effective, Rep. Anthony Weiner resigned from office in the wake of a scandal in which he lied about sexually explicit exchanges on social media outlets.
Weiner, 46, has served in the House since 1998, when he was elected to succeed Charles Schumer, who became a Senator that year. Like his predecessor, Weiner was an ardent and outspoken supporter of Israel and of Jewish organizations in the district, which includes parts of Central Queens, the Rockaways, Flatbush and Sheepshead Bay.
"Today I am announcing my resignation from Congress so my colleagues can get back to work, my neighbors can choose a new representative and most importantly that my wife and I can continue to heal from the damage I have caused," said Weiner, who thanked his parents for "the values they instilled in me to get this far."
It was the first appearance by Weiner since he announced a leave of absence from the House and went to seek treatment at an undisclosed location this week after confessing that he had sent at least six women sexually charged messages and photos through social media. After his confessional news conference last week, revelations about his lewd exchanges, including photos, continued to surface.
The House Ethics Committee was set to launch an investigation into whether Weiner had misused House resources to send the messages and then cover up the scandal. The resignation will abort that investigation.
Weiner is married to a top State Department official, Huma Abdein, an aide to Secy. Hillary Rodham Clinton whom he began dating during Clinton’s presidential campiagn in 2008. The two are expecting their first child. Abedin reportedly counseled Weiner that he could not continue fighting for his job when she returned from a trip abroad with Clinton on Tuesday.
Pre-eminent among lawmakers calling for him to step down were fellow members of the unofficial Jewish Hill caucus, including Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader; Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee; Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Democrats House re-election campaign; and Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) and Sander Levin (D-Mich.)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will call a special election to fill the seat, likely to be timed to coincide with elections to fill vacant state legislative seats in New York City. Among candidates who may be designated by the Democrats to compete are former Assembly and Council member Melinda Katz, Assemblyman David Weprin, Councilman Mark Weprin, Councilman Eric Gioia, Assemblyman Rory Lancman and former Councilman and current TLC Commissioner David Yassky.