WASHINGTON — There was little sympathy among US politicians Tuesday for Anthony Weiner, one day after the US Democratic congressman admitted in a teary-eyed press conference to maintaining a string of lewd online relationships.
Weiner, 46, said he was “deeply ashamed” for his behavior, which included sending a close-up picture of an aroused male member in underpants to a woman in Seattle via his Twitter account, but indicated he would not resign.
Weiner denied for a week sending the picture and claimed that his account had been hacked. But on Monday he came clean, and confessed to sending naughty pictures and sexting with about six women over the years.
Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor became the first elected official to call for Weiner’s resignation.
“I don’t condone his activity. And I think he should resign,” Cantor said during a visit to Louisa, Virginia, according to The Daily Progress, the local newspaper.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called for a probe to see if Weiner violated House rules, and on Tuesday formally referred the case for investigation.
Weiner “disclosed conduct which he described as inappropriate,” Pelosi said in a statement. “An investigation by the Ethics Committee… is warranted.”
In the Senate, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said his embattled House colleague is on his own.
“I know Congressman Weiner. I wish there was some way I can defend him, but I can’t,” Reid told reporters.
What advice he would give if Weiner asked for help? “Call somebody else,” Reid said.
The head of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus, called for Weiner to quit.
“Congressman Weiner’s actions and deception are unacceptable and he should resign,” Priebus said in a statement.
However Weiner, a seven-term Democratic congressman who until the scandal was seen as a leading candidate for New York City mayor in 2013, said he does not intend to quit his House of Representatives seat.