Despite increasing calls for Anthony Weiner to withdraw from the New York City mayoral race, the former congressman continued his campaign Wednesday, a day after admitting that he had continued to send lewd online messages even after quitting Congress two years ago when his sexting scandal erupted.
His opponents in the mayoral race and several newspapers have urged the disgraced congressman to pull out from the race, reminding voters that Tuesday’s revelations were repeated offenses.
The New York Times Editorial Board wrote late Tuesday evening that Weiner is not a viable candidate with his dirty laundry still hanging in the air.
“At some point, the full story of Anthony Weiner and his sexual relationships and texting habits will finally be told. In the meantime, the serially evasive Mr. Weiner should take his marital troubles and personal compulsions out of the public eye, away from cameras, off the Web and out of the race for mayor of New York City.”
The New York Daily News published an op-ed with a similar message.
“Weiner entered the mayor’s race asking for New Yorkers’ trust. He had squandered the precious commodity by brazenly trying to lie his way out of the scandal that sunk him in 2011. He said he would play straight, but he deceived even as he spoke. And now he is a man whose word is accepted less readily than that of a nameless, faceless social networker. He cannot be mayor.”
The New York Post chimed in, writing that Weiner’s statement was not an “outright lie,” but he failed to “tell the full truth.”
“At yesterday’s presser, Weiner claimed there’s no news here because he’d admitted at the outset of this campaign there were more women out there. As we can now see, those were weasel words, because the couple knew most people would simply assume his contact with these other women had taken place before his humiliating resignation from Congress.”
The Wall Street Journal blasted Weiner for embarrassing his wife in an op-ed titled “The Anthony Weiner Show.”
“ Lewd tweets aside—there’s a line we never thought we’d write—Anthony Weiner ought to drop out of the New York City mayor’s race simply because of what he’s forced his wife to endure. Watching the elegant Huma Abedin stand next to her man Tuesday as he explained his latest sexually charged online exchanges was painful for a normal human being to watch. Mr. Weiner is not a normal human being.”
Weiner pressed ahead with scheduled campaign events, speaking during the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Mayoral Forum on the HIV/Aids epidemic immediately after his news conference, and at a New York City Housing Authority Public Hearing on Wednesday.
The moderator of the mayoral forum even poked fun at Weiner’s situation Wednesday evening, asking the candidate which social media network he preferred.
Candidates are asked, “FB or twitter” all answer …and then crowd erupts in laughter when moderator asks, “Weiner? FB or Twiitter?”
— Ida Siegal (@idasiegal4ny) July 25, 2013
New York Magazine did not urge the Democrat to bow out but had some scathing words for him. “With seven weeks to go before the Democratic primary, Weiner is moving from entertaining sideshow to freak show.”
“After being forced to resign from Congress, after yesterday’s humiliating Carlos Danger press conference, with his traumatized wife at his side, Weiner, at long last, has no sense of decency. There are, however, two things that could still end this foolishness, and Weiner’s shrinking chances of becoming mayor. The first is the most likely: that something so vile, so offensive, or even criminal emerges from the Weiner Internet vault. This is one of the (many) things that he doesn’t seem to understand: that the facts of what he’s done, and when he did it, matter.”
Other politicians and public figures have spoken against him, including–not surprisingly–his opponents in the mayoral race.
New York City Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio released a statement just before Weiner’s press conference. ”Enough is enough. I’m calling on Anthony to withdraw from this race - for the good of the city that I know he loves as much as all of us.”
Queens Democrat John Liu also released a statement. ”It’s one thing if more photos are revealed, presumably [from] before he resigned. It’s a whole different ballgame and just would be utterly shocking if there were photos taken after he had resigned two years ago.”
Bill Thompson, another mayoral candidate, said on WNYC radio, “”I suggest [Weiner] understand what this has done to a serious discussion of NYC, and do the right thing.”
John Catsimatidis urged Weiner to withdraw as well. ”The Mayor of New York City should be a leader that all the residents of our city, especially our children, can look up to. Anthony Weiner should do what is right for his family and our city and drop out of the race for mayor so we can end this soap opera.”
Independence Party mayoral candidate Adolfo Carrion Jr. said, “New York needs leaders, not dysfunctional people.”
Erick Salgado said there is a limit to forgiveness. “To learn that he continued his bad behavior even after he asked for forgiveness is unreal. How can we put our confidence in him? As New Yorkers we need a leader who can not only manage the office, but maintain the dignity that the mayoralty deserves.”
Congressman Jerry Nadler also wants Weiner out of the race. ”I think he should withdraw, I think he needs serious psychiatric help,” Nadler told reporters Wednesday. “He should take care of his own problems and let New York figure its policies and its mayor.”
Nadler found the timeline of Weiner’s online exchanges questionable and said that his continued behavior raises major concerns.
“I mean to have done it again after what we went through in the resignation–he has shown himself to be a serial liar, you can’t believe him, and he’s also shown monumentally bad judgment,” Nadler said. “How can you trust his judgment as a mayor?”
In a letter emailed to supporters with the subject “Worth Fighting For,” Weiner acknowledged that many of his opponents were calling for him to withdraw from the mayoral contest.
“Some powerful voices are making it clear that they still don’t want me to run. Yesterday’s news has given them fresh fodder. I owe it to you to try to explain,” the statement read. “Some people may find my personal life reason not to listen to me. I completely understand that some may not ever even consider voting for me. But I’m going to keep trying to bring them around and earn their support. This fight is too important to give up, because I’ve had embarrassing personal things become public.”
Weiner ended his email with a pledge. ”This race for Mayor isn’t about me. It’s about you. And I’ll never lose sight of that.”
Zoe Cianciolo contributed to this report.