While Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin say they’re trying to move their marriage past Weiner’s repeated sexting scandals, friends of Abedin’s told CNN that upon the former congressman’s confession to his wife last fall that he had relapsed into exchanging lewd messages, Abedin was furious and seriously considered ending the marriage.
She was done and ready to leave him, the friend said. Another friend said she was “this close to walking out the door.”
After some reflection, friends said, Abedin felt that taking their toddler son from his father was not what was best for him, and ultimately decided to continue with therapy in an effort to heal their relationship and help him with work through his issues.
Jessica Marrocco, 26, suspected another motive.
“I think she’s really just doing it for the publicity, and she wants a husband in office,” she said. “Because no self-respecting woman would stand up there and say that something like that’s O.K.”…
“It’s hard to watch her still encourage people to vote for him,” said Arita Balaram, 22, of the Bronx, as she sipped a caramel latte by Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn. “It’s hard to watch this as a woman.”…
“I have no way of knowing whether Huma, for whom I have great respect, is responding out of new motherhood, the Stockholm syndrome or a mystery,” Gloria Steinem, the feminist activist, wrote in an e-mail.
What makes Huma Abedin different isn’t that she stood by her man, while pregnant, as he publicly disgraced their marriage, and lied about it repeatedly while blaming the same “vast right-wing conspiracy” as Hillary.
No, Abedin took it a step further. She didn’t want him to resign, according to what Anthony Weiner later told The New York Times — plus, she encouraged him to jump into the mayoral race…
Her defense of him is so over-the-top that the only conclusion that can be drawn is that she is as power-hungry and deranged as he is. It’s reminiscent of Elizabeth Edwards, willing to ignore her husband’s affair and obvious love child, so long as he still had a chance to become president.
Huma Abedin once inspired pity, but now the growing public feeling toward her is anger. Anthony Weiner has no self-control and no business being New York City’s mayor. The woman who enables him shouldn’t be first lady of our city.
It’s also time to declare a moratorium on the line that Huma Abedin is the smartest, shrewdest, most level-headed and glamorous asset the Democratic Party has, and if she’s OK with Anthony, we should be, too. Clearly, there is something very wrong with Abedin — whether it’s simply that she shares her husband’s vaulting ambition or that she has a pathological need to be publicly humiliated, something’s up. When The New York Times is calling for you to take your sad assemblage of sexual compulsions out the door, you should consider that a wake-up call. Silda may have stood by Eliot, but even she never opened her mouth in his defense.
Abedin took the good-wife act one step further at Tuesday’s press conference, admitting her collusion in this new lie: “We discussed all of this before Anthony decided to run for mayor,” she said. So clearly, as Abedin sat for these joint interviews in which Weiner claimed to be a changed man, she knew that wasn’t the truth, and was happy to lie to a public that had been nothing but sympathetic toward poor, brilliant Huma, saddled with such a dud. Perhaps they’re a better match than we knew.
Huma Abedin has critics saying the long-time Hillary Clinton aide might just be taking a page out her boss’s playbook for her own future benefit…
“Her tendency would be to go the Hillary Clinton model,” [Monica] Crowley said on Fox News. “It is clear that Huma, given her position with Hillary Clinton who is running for president in 2016, that she has a lot of personal ambition of her own. What may be taking place here is shared ambition on the part of both of them to achieve ever higher positions of power and using their marriages to do it.”
Fellow conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh was slightly more direct, calling Abedin a “doormat”.
“Her loyalty is to Hillary Clinton and her role model is Hillary Clinton. Doormats. Doormats with the promise of a payoff later down the road,” Limbaugh said on Wednesday.
This strategy worked for the Clintons politically. But after this latest press conference, I’m pretty sure that Abedin has stretched the Hillary mantle past the breaking point.
The essential problem is that the circumstances are very different for Weiner and Abedin than they were for the Clintons. Back in the late 1990s, the country’s stability, along with the future of the Democratic Party, hung in the balance. Even in 1992, when Hillary went on 60 Minutes to quell the controversy over Gennifer Flowers, many voters already saw her husband as a potentially transformative political figure, and plenty of them were therefore willing to overlook his transgressions. Weiner, by contrast, is running for mayor of New York City, not president of the United States, and based on his performance in public office so far, he’s not really worth the rest of us trying to forgive or forget what we know of his private behavior.
“Huma was the one in the relationship with credibility, and her credibility was supposed to carry him and lift him up into office. And now he’s bringing her credibility down along with his,” said author and political analyst Keli Goff. “That’s what this has done, now we don’t trust either one of them and what stories they’re telling about this timeline.”
Huma’s appeal to media bigwigs like Brown goes far beyond compassion. Even before she became Mrs. Carlos Danger, she was a star. CNN’s Dana Bash said “she is almost like Madonna or Cher here in Washington.” Bash doesn’t have her simile quite right; Huma is Kennedy glamour resurrected. She brings exotic beauty and a hint of Oxbridge intelligence — and of course cosmopolitan liberalism — to a town full of heartland men in ill-fitting brown suits and southern women in fire-engine-red blazers. Even during this Hell Week, Huma has managed to project such an unusual combination of elegance, composure, and vulnerability à la Jackie that it was tempting to take her laughable plea for privacy at face value…
But I do know a woman of substance would have sat her husband down and said: “Look, honey. Give it a rest. Work in an orphanage for a while. Or maybe take a job on an oil rig. Read some philosophy — or the Bible. Look within. You’re not ready for primetime.” Instead, Huma encouraged him. He wanted to be mayor so he should be mayor. Never mind a public already cynical about politics who would find in the not-yet-released sexts even more sustenance for their dark frame of mind. Never mind the likelihood that in the future her beloved, assuming he is genuinely sext-free at the moment, would lapse into his old ways — surely the protégé of Hillary Clinton should wonder about that — and would once again drag the public through the sewage of his private fantasies. What was the civic good compared with Anthony Weiner’s ambitions?
Pace Tina Brown, Huma shares many of her husband’s qualities. But here’s the thing: She looks awesome at a press conference.
It’s very nice that her friends are feeling for her in this time of self-inflicted hardship. What, though, is missing from our politics if Abedin’s not in it? Before this week, she had a sterling reputation (based in part on how she didn’t appear at Weiner’s press conferences, but oh well) based on … what, exactly?…
In August 2007 Vogue profiled Clinton’s aide—her “secret” weapon—and informed us that “her black Prada suit is wrinkle-free, her skin is flawless, and her long, luxurious hair is blow-dried into the kind of bouncy waves you see mostly in shampoo commercials.” Philippe Reines, who would go on to be Clinton’s spokesman at the State Department, added that “the women in our office definitely watch what Huma wears.”
What did we learn about Abedin’s policy chops? Not much, apart from how she accompanied Clinton to the hospital to comfort a 9/11 victim because she cares about people, not politics. No one who’s profiled Abedin has really bothered to tell why we should like her, only that other people really like her…
Standing by your husband when he keeps disappointing you is, sadly, an ordinary thing. Making connections in D.C. and then cashing in on them is also pretty ordinary. The single most irritating aspect of the Weiner scandal is that we’re being asked to buy tickets for this third-rate psychodrama. The Weiner-Abedin marriage is to the Clinton marriage as Sharknado is to Jaws.
Isn’t it time to call the spectacle of the suffering political wife, standing by her man in the media glare as he admits to his latest sexual offense against her, what it really is: spousal abuse?…
We have the right to say that we will not enable this anymore; we will not endorse it; we will not bless it just because it is her “choice.” Instead, we will call a public figure’s cheating on his wife, then bringing her to the mea culpa press conference, not only offensive to her but a slap in the face to women in the electorate…
Here’s the simple rule for male politicians: If you had your fun without her, man up and face the press corps without her. Ironically, each of these men calls himself a feminist. Respect for women begins at home, fellas.