Democrat Anthony Weiner and his wife brazenly stood side-by-side at a late-afternoon press conference, telling reporters that they love each other and will keep campaigning for the mayor’s office in New York.
The defiant stand took place only hours after a gossip website produced a new stream of crudely sexual test sent by Weiner to a 22-year-old woman, and it prompted angry response by embarrassed pro-feminist Democrats.
“Anthony has made some horrible mistakes, both before he resigned from Congress and after, but I do really strongly believe that is between us and our marriage,” said his wife, Huma Abedin.
“I love him, I’ve forgiven him, I believe in him, and as we’d said from the beginning, we’re moving forward,” Abedin told a roomful of journalists and cameras that broadcast the press conference on cable television nationwide.
“My wife and I, moving forward together,” Weiner said.
Weiner is racing for the Democratic nomination in the mayoral race. His chief competitor is City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
The nomination will be decided by ballot in seven weeks.
New York includes many married couples who take their vows seriously, and do not believe that extended and public sexual impropriety can be simply excused as private activity.
Many Democrats are aghast at the scandal, and at Abedin’s support for Weiner.
“Why would the Democratic Party want to blamed and typecast with this guy?” said Chris Matthews, host of MSNCBC’s “Hardball.”
The press conference “was disturbing,” and a humiliation, said Joan Walsh, editor of Salon. “No Democrat could want this to continue. … It is really astonishing,” she added.
Abedin’s defense of Weiner was “painful to watch,” Nia Malika Henderson, a national political reporter for The Washington Post, told MSNBC anchor Al Sharpton.
“The problem is, it isn’t ‘between us’ — it has become a public spectacle,” said Malika Henderson.
Abedin is a former top aide to the Democrats’ top candidate for 2016, Hillary Clinton.
Reporters at the event also sharply questioned the Democratic candidate. “Why should we trust your judgment?” shouted one reporter as Weiner and his wife left the press conference.
But Weiner and his wife contritely disregarded the scorn.
“Perhaps I’m surprised that more things didn’t come out sooner — I’m responsible for us being in this place… this behavior that I did was problematic to say the least, destructive to say the most,” Weiner said.
“I’m pleased and blessed that [Abedin] has given me a second chance,” he added.