Former New York City mayoral candidate and congressman speculated that he probably would have been elected mayor “if the Internet didn’t exist.” A series of online lewd exchanges with women forced him to resign from Congress and killed his mayoral campaign.
“Maybe if the Internet didn’t exist? Like, if I was running in 1955? I’d probably get elected mayor,” Weiner said in a profile piece entitled “The Year of Living Carlos Dangerously” for GQ magazine.
The disgraced congressman first became embroiled in a scandal in May 2011 when suggestive photos were revealed on Twitter; he resigned the following month. After telling the press he was no longer engaging with other women online, a second scandal became public in June 2013, several months into the city’s mayoral race.
In the GQ interview, Weiner acknowledged that the reputation of his wife, Huma Abedin, was tarnished after both scandals.
The media’s scandal coverage zeroed in on his wife, who is one of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides.
“We’ve had a very rough time. It causes me a great deal of pain in the way she gets reported and the way she gets discussed. Her treatment in the press has been rough. It pains me because I deserve it. She doesn’t,” Weiner said.
“I duck it as best I can,” Weiner said. “But her reputation has become the Woman Who Married an Idiot and Stuck with Him. More of it rolls off my back, because that’s the way I am constitutionally. She’s more sensitive.”
“I’m just an empty, soulless vessel, so it doesn’t hurt me as much,” Weiner told GQ.
Weiner used the pseudonym “Carlos Danger” to send lewd online messages to a woman named Sydney Leathers.
“You ask about the higher meaning of sexting, but it was remarkably meaningless,” he told GQ’s writer Marshall Sella. “It was almost like a video game you played. One that didn’t have much connection to reality.”
Out of office for two years, Weiner expressed his thoughts on the 113th Congress.
”Congress just isn’t a good job anymore, ” said the former congressman who served New York from Jan 1999 until his resignation in June 2011. “Not to overstate, but I was a pretty important member of Congress because I’d figured out the outside game pretty well. But if someone goes to Congress for thirty or forty years nowadays? They’re doin’ s___. They’re doin’ nothin’.”
He also explained why he made an obscene gesture to a reporter after his concession speech, attributing it to his realization that his political career was over.
“I was really fried that night. It was such a taut moment, and the campaign was coming to an end, and I had tried not to lose my composure in what might be the last political speech of my life. My family was there. Huma’s been kind of traumatized by this whole thing. So I was just completely frayed at the edges. But I knew immediately it was a mistake,” Weiner said.