Too afraid to ask: Who is Anthony Weiner?

    Photo courtesy of the Washington Post

    You may have heard of the man with perhaps the most comically ironic name in politics: Anthony Weiner. Weiner, who has a penchant for grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons, has returned to the headlines once again. Let’s break down who he is, his fall from grace and why the word “Weiner” is back on the front page of the country’s most serious news outlets.

    Who is Anthony Weiner?

    Anthony Weiner, a New York native, represented New York’s 9th district in the House from 1999 to 2011. A relatively mainstream democrat, Weiner consistently won reelection until scandals eventually ended his career. Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin (from whom he is now separated), is a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton.

    What brought his downfall?

    In short: a brutal combination of sexting, carelessness and Twitter. In May 2011, Breitbart reported on a deleted tweet from Weiner’s account that included a picture of what CNN describes as “the bulging crotch of a man in his underwear.” Weiner immediately blamed a hacker and tried to move on from the scandal, but he never directly answered if the photo was of him or not. In June, however, Weiner tearfully admitted to sending sexual photos of himself to several strangers on the internet. He soon resigned from Congress while remaining married to Abedin.

    In the spring of 2013, Weiner attempted a comeback by announcing his run for mayor of New York. Unfortunately, June brought on Episode II of his sexting scandals. A gossip website released several sexual conversations between Weiner and a woman, some of which took place after he resigned from Congress. After finishing fifth in the democratic mayoral primary, Weiner held on to a relatively low profile for a few years.

    What is he doing back in the news?

    After some time off the grid (and off the camera roll), Weiner returned to the headlines in August. Explicit conversations between Weiner and a woman were leaked, and they included a photo of Weiner in his underwear next to his four-year-old son. Following this third wave of scandal, Abedin announced that she was separating from her husband, and the New York Daily News, where Weiner had become a regular opinion columnist, announced it would stop running his columns. But that isn’t all. When FBI director James Comey made a surprising announcement to reopen the Hillary Clinton email investigation right before the election, news outlets reported that the investigation was returning because emails related to Hillary Clinton’s private server were found on Anthony Weiner’s computer. Comey then announced they were reopening the Clinton investigation to examine if any of the emails on Weiner’s computer contained classified information – although Comey admitted to being uncertain if the emails even came from Clinton’s server. The emails were found because the FBI was investigating Weiner for allegedly sending illicit messages to a 15-year-old girl.

    Want to learn more?

    A documentary titled “Weiner” was released in January 2016. It got generally good reviews and can be rented on iTunes, Youtube or Amazon (or for free on some illegal website).


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