A disheveled and emotional Rep. Anthony Weiner (D., N.Y.) finally admitted this afternoon what most fair-minded individuals had long-suspected. “The picture was of me, and I sent it,” he told reporters gathered at the Sheraton hotel in Manhattan, revealing that he intended to send the infamous “randy photo” to a 21-year-old female college student in a private message “as a joke,” but “panicked” once he realized the image had been made public. “I regret not being honest about this,” he said. “I was embarrassed, I was humiliated, I was trying to protect my wife, I was trying to protect myself from shame.”
Weiner admitted to having “several inappropriate conversations” with “about six” different women over the past three years, both online and over the phone, and confessed to having exchanged illicit photographs. He said he has never met any of the women and the relationships never became physical. Fighting back tears, the Democratic congressman apologized to his wife, his family, his staff, the media and even offered a personal apology to Andrew Breitbart, who appeared at the press conference in person and took questions from reporters shortly before Weiner took the podium.
Breitbart essentially forced Weiner’s hand today by releasing a number of photos alleged to have been sent by Weiner to a young woman, and claimed to be in possession of an “X-rated” photograph that he did not intend to release. When questioned about the existence of such a photo, Weiner said he could not deny it. He described his dalliances with the young women as “a frivolous exchange among friends,” and said that all of the women were of adult age “at least to the best of my knowledge.”
Despite the confession, Weiner said he had no plans to resign, explaining that it would be up to his constituents to decide whether his behavior renders him unfit for public office. “I’ve worked very hard for my constituents,” he said. “I don’t believe that I did anything that violates any law or any rule.”
Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, a long-time aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, did not appear at the press conference. When asked about her whereabouts, Weiner simply replied, “She’s not here,” but said they have no plans to get a divorce. “We have been through a great deal together and we will weather this,” he said. “I love her very much.”