Conveniently, the “short leave of absence” he’ll be taking from Congress coincides with the end of the recess on Monday, where he would have faced an angry and unified Democratic caucus demanding that he resign.
This guy really is utterly terrified of losing his power, isn’t he?
Pelosi released the following statement Saturday:
“Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the recognition that he needs help. I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a Member of Congress.”
Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:
“It is with great disappointment that I call on Representative Anthony Weiner to resign. The behavior he has exhibited is indefensible and Representative Weiner’s continued service in Congress is untenable. This sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction for Representative Weiner, his family, his constituents and the House – and for the good of all, he should step aside and address those things that should be most important – his and his family’s well-being.”
Steve Israel, head of the DCCC, also issued a statement. According to the Times piece linked above, he called Weiner yesterday to tell him he had to go and, presumably, to give him a heads up that the Democratic leadership would be dropping a coordinated bomb on him today if he didn’t. And yet, faced with another day of humiliation and the inescapable fact that tomorrow morning’s chat shows will be all Weiner, all the time, one of America’s highest-functioning men still can’t bring himself to quit. That fanatic attachment to power, even at the price of seeing his dignity shredded in the media day after day, is one of the creepiest parts of this story.
But not quite the creepiest, depending upon how this angle of the scandal plays out:
Delaware police are looking for the direct messages sent back and forth between Weiner and the 17-year-old high school girl…
Police sources told FoxNews.com the girl brought her laptop and phone to the police station Friday evening.
The girl’s mother said her daughter told her that none of the messages she received from Weiner were inappropriate.
Sources said much of the conversations between Weiner and the high schooler had been deleted from the girl’s computer.
Why would a teenaged Anthony Weiner fan who’d had innocuous conversations with her political hero want to erase them? Why not preserve them instead and show them off to friends? E.g., “And here’s where he encouraged me to join Model UN. And here’s where he told me to apply myself and keep working for the people,” etc. Actually, maybe it wasn’t the girl who deleted the tweets; maybe it was Weiner himself, suddenly sensitive for whatever reason about getting caught DMing with a high-school student. See Ace for more in that vein.
Just for fun, here’s flashback video of Wasserman-Schultz, forever robotically on message, insisting that Weiner’s online chats are a “personal matter.” Once the words “underaged girl” started appearing in headlines, the official party message had to change; hence today’s resignation demand from DWS. Exit question via Dave Weigel: What is Weiner seeking “treatment” for, precisely? Sex addiction? According to Weiner, he didn’t have sex with anyone except his wife. In fact, as Weigel notes, at his presser on Monday Weiner specifically said, “This is not something that can be treated away; this is my own personal mistake.” When did he become convinced that he did, in fact, have a sympathy-inducing malady rather than a scorn-inducing penchant for power-tripping and sexual recklessness? Oh well. According to senior Democrats, it won’t save him.
Update: I thought for sure it was the news about the high-school student that forced the Democrats’ hand, but a senior Democratic official says nope. They’ve been planning to drop the resignation bomb on him for days, hoping against hope that some small sense of honor would lead him to quit before it came to that.
Not a smart bet, really.
A senior Democratic official told CNN that the decision to call for Weiner’s resignation had “been in the works for several days” and the discussions “between the political committees resulted in an internal Saturday morning deadline for him to resign on his own.”
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said the decision “was decided before the Delaware news broke.”
Update: He’ll never, ever give up power unless the only alternative is jail time, says KP: “I’ll say it for the 800th time: Anthony will not resign unless there is threat of legal prosecution, which at this point there would be no basis for.”
Update (Ed): National Journal’s report has this interesting tidbit, emphasis mine:
Both Pelosi and Israel called Weiner in New York on Saturday to urge him to resign. They told him they had statements prepared to call for him to resign and vowed to release him if he didn’t comply. Weiner told them that he would not make a move until his wife Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, returned from her trip to Africa and the Middle East with Clinton. Abedin is expected back on Wednesday.
I’d guess that Pelosi and Israel might want to arrange a video conference call between Weiner and his wife ASAP. Weiner’s response seems to indicate that he may be retreating from his no-surrender position.
Update: News via Ace: Police have wrapped their investigation into Weiner’s DMs with the girl.
A spokesman says police in Delaware have completed their investigation into Rep. Anthony Weiner’s online contact with a 17-year-old girl.
C.R. McLeod, a spokesman for the New Castle County government, told The Associated Press on Saturday that investigators have concluded their probe and don’t plan any further comment “unless something new arises that needs their attention.”