As the swirl of events surrounding former disgraced Congressman and current New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner reaches epic proportions, new details are emerging about Weiner’s ambitions and his sexting of young women. Weiner was likely considering a mayoral run as early as March 2011, before he had even resigned from Congress; he likely lied in his recent press conference in which he stated that his sexting had stopped during the summer of 2012; and it is now obvious that Weiner fibbed repeatedly to the press about cleaning up his act between his resignation and his admissions of continued misbehavior this week.
The saga of Anthony Weiner began in January 1999, when he joined Congress as the representative for New York’s 9th district. He had been a longtime Democratic operative, working for Chuck Schumer from 1985 to 1991 and serving on the New York City Council from 1992 to 1998. In 2007, Weiner sponsored the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators (KIDS) Act; he said at the time, “Sadly, the Internet is the predator’s venue of choice today. We need to update our strategies and our laws to stop these offenders who are a mere click away from our children.” In 2009, Weiner met Huma Abedin; in July 2010, they were married by Bill Clinton. The marriage was celebrated at the time as a power marriage, with Huma as Hillary Clinton’s right hand, and Weiner as an up-and-coming politician.
On May 28, 2011, Big Government reported that Weiner had sent pictures of his genitals to a user via Twitter. The tweet was supposed to be a direct message, but was accidentally sent publicly. Andrew Breitbart tweeted that Weiner should own up to his sexting: “Just call it ‘constituency outreach’ and be done with it. We have much more. Need confirmation or denial.” Weiner then claimed that someone had hacked his account. “Touche Prof. Moriarity! More Weiner Jokes for all my guests! #Hacked!” he tweeted. On May 29, Seattle student Gennette Nicole Cordova told the New York Daily News “There have never been any inappropriate exchanges between Anthony Weiner and myself, including the tweet/picture in question, which had apparently been deleted before it reached me. I cannot answer the questions that I do not have the answers to.”
Cordova was wrong. Weiner was a lying. By June 9, she admitted that Weiner had sent the photo, but she thought it was a fake.
On June 1, 2011, Weiner said that he hadn’t sent a lewd picture to the Seattle college student, but admitted that he couldn’t “say with certitude” that the picture wasn’t him. “This was a circumstance where someone committed a prank on the Internet,” Weiner said. “I didn’t send” the photo, he continued.
Except that he had.
On June 6, 2011, Big Government released a photo of Weiner, shirtless. Weiner called a press conference. Andrew Breitbart ended up taking over the press conference before Weiner arrived, asking for an apology and demanding that Weiner come clean. Moments later, Weiner admitted that he had indeed tweeted pictures of his genitals to women over the internet. “I am deeply ashamed of my terrible actions,” Weiner said through tears. “I came here to accept the full responsibility for what I’ve done.” He admitted to inappropriate online relationships with six women. “I don’t know what I was thinking,” he stated. “”It was something that I did that was just wrong, and I regret it…I was embarrassed, I was humiliated. I was trying to protect myself and my wife…. I’m going to try to handle this, and I have not ruled out seeing someone. This is a deep weakness that I have demonstrated, and for that I apologize.” Of course, he also explained the tweet this way: “Last Friday night, I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I had posted it to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down, and said that I had been hacked. I then continued with that story to stick to that story, which was a hugely regrettable mistake.”
On June 7, 2011, the New York Post published transcripts of texts between Weiner and a Nevada blackjack dealer named Lisa Weiss. In March 2011, Weiss messaged Weiner, “I want to bang the future mayor of nyc!” Obviously, Weiner’s later consideration of mayoralty was not out of the blue.
On June 10, 2011, Weiner admitted that he had had contact with a 17-year-old high school girl. He said nothing inappropriate took place. He also said that all the women he had messaged were adults or had given their ages that way — but the sponsor of the KIDS Act provided no evidence to back that assertion. He exchanged messages with the girl for some two weeks, including one in which Weiner wrote, “I came back strong. Large. Tights and cape…”
On June 16, 2011, Weiner finally resigned after receiving pressure from fellow Democrats, reportedly upset with Weiner for lying to them. He said, “I am here today to again apologize for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused. I make this apology to my neighbors and my constituents but I make it particularly to my wife, Huma….today I’m 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.”
That, we thought, was the end of the story.
But within months, a 22-year-old woman “reached out to express her disappointment in him,” according to the New York Times. The woman’s name was Sydney Leathers. As we will find out, disappointment soon turned to disrobing.
On December 21, 2011, Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, gave birth to their son. Weiner wrote, “Did I mention his mom is amazing?”
By June 2012, Weiner had formally decided to run for mayor, asking former staffers over and talking comeback with his wife, according to the New York Post (although, as we’ve already seen, Weiner was thinking about a mayoral run even before he left Congress). Weiner still had $4.5 million left over from his previous elections to use for a potential run. At the time, Weiner later described to New York magazine, he was confused about the possibilities: “The think it has to have some plotline, like my rise, my fall, how I bottom out, feel all this remorse, have an epiphany, and then come back. I’m supposed to be sorry, sorry in this way you’re supposed to be sorry…but I don’t know if it’s hitting me like that.”
It wasn’t hitting him like that. He was preparing to get involved in sexting again.
On June 29, 2012, barely a year after leaving office, Weiner did his first radio interview with The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. He stated, “I still have regrets. I paid a very high price, but I’m still committed to the same things I was. And I have a 6-month-old that I have to go and feed now….As I said when I resigned, I feel great regret for the people I let down.”
On July 12, 2012, Weiner began actively hitting up Leathers. “I just followed u on formspring,” Weiner wrote to the woman. By August 2012, Weiner was already discussing the possibility of setting up a condo for Leathers, and was apparently sending pictures of his genitals to the woman from his Carlos Danger yahoo email.
This was about the time that Weiner kicked his mayoral run pre-launch into high gear. Huma Abedin was a driving force behind that decision, according to the New York Post: “Sources close to Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, tell The Post she has been pushing her husband to do a single interview — as Bubba did amid the Monica Lewinsky scandal — that would be the final word on the sexting mess that ended Weiner’s career in Congress last year. She believes it would clear the air once and for all and allow him to move forward, the sources said.” According to Weiner’s latest press conference this week, however, Huma knew throughout this period about her husband’s sexting problem: “She knew all along this process as I was more and more honest with her. I told her everything so we — this is something we knew going into the decision about whether I would run.”
On July 30, People published an interview with Weiner. The interview carried a picture of Weiner, Huma, and the baby. “I really do feel like a very, very different person,” Weiner lied. “I’ve had enormous regrets about what I put Huma through, how I let my constituents down. But it’s not like I sit all day replaying it in my mind. With a baby, it is pretty easy to put things into perspective.” Huma said, “I’m proud to be married to him…My husband did a really stupid thing. It was an extremely painful time. But there was love and a commitment to this marriage….It took a lot of work to get where we are today, but I want people to know we’re a normal family.” People reported, “Weiner says he sought professional counseling but won’t go into detail except to say that it helped.”
At the time, Weiner apparently discussed the possibility of running for mayor, even as he demanded photos of her. Weiner sent pictures of his genitals to the woman, as well. In his exchanges with Leathers, Weiner went by the nom de plume Carlos Danger. She Facebooked, “Rep. Weiner can continue sending d–k pics every single day for the rest of his life. So long as he continues to legislate like he does.” At the same time, she told Carlos Danger, “I want you to bend me over my desk right now.” For the next several months, Weiner and Leathers engaged in phone sex several times a day, according to The Dirty. Meanwhile, Weiner continued to proclaim his redemption.
By November, the relationship was on the rocks.
On April 10, Weiner and Huma did a profile piece for The New York Times magazine. He told the Times, “We have been in a defensive crouch for so long. We are ready to clear the decks on this thing.” Weiner said that he told Abedin about everything before he resigned: “Listen, I can’t…I don’t’ want to lie…I just didn’t want to lie anymore to her…I have a choppy memory of it, but she was devastated. She immediately said, ‘Well you’ve got to stop lying to everyone else too.'” The Times quoted Weiner: “‘I love Huma a great deal. I live with a lot of guilt about what I put her through. She’s this amazing woman who did nothing wrong, who, to some degree, has people staring at her now on the subway because of what an idiot her husband was. And I feel bad about that. A lot…It’s not behind us. It kind of bubbles around and comes up in different ways. But she’s, um…’ Here, he paused and took a deep breath and started to cry. ‘She’s given…’ He stopped again, could barely get the words out. ‘She’s given me another chance. And I am very grateful for that. And I’m trying to make sure I get it right.'”
He wasn’t trying that hard. On April 11, Weiner contacted Leathers to ask her her opinion of the Times piece.
On April 24, Weiner said to WNBC that he had not continued any illicit activity with any of the women with whom he had sexted before his resignation – the only women the media knew about. “Some of them have reached out to me to say things that I don’t … You know, their lives have been put upside down as well. Some of them have come forward willingly, but some of them haven’t, and they’ve got drawn into things that, frankly, they didn’t deserve. And that’s it. But we haven’t stayed in touch or anything like that,” he said. The host asked whether he had “reinitiated conversations.” Weiner said no. Technically, he wasn’t lying. Morally, he was lying through his teeth.
On July 23, Weiner admitted to sexting relationships beyond his resignation from Congress. He said they had stopped “Sometime last summer I think.” The Dirty reported that Weiner’s relationship with Leathers continued until November, another lie.
On Thursday, Weiner admitted that he messaged at least three women after resigning and upped the number of women he had messaged during his Congressional term from a minimum of six to a maximum of ten. He added, “Here’s the problem: there are people I’ve had exchanges with that are completely appropriate … there were no pictures, no illicit texts or anything like that. If those people want to say they don’t like the exchanges either, I don’t know where to put them…. six to ten, I suppose, but I can’t tell you, absolutely, what someone is going to consider inappropriate or not.”
The world awaits the next Weiner revelation. In any case, his history of lies, half-truths, and phony redemptions spells electoral danger with a capital Carlos.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).