|Anthony Weiner (AFP-Yonhap News)|
New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner was recently accused of sending explicit photos and text to a woman online, a scandal which further smeared his name two years after he disgracefully resigned from Congress in 2011 for similar behavior.
Weiner acknowledged early Tuesday that he had engaged in sexual correspondence with a young woman but maintained that he will not drop out of the mayoral race, saying that the whole incident was behind him.
The 49-year-old said some of the activities happened last summer, well over a year after he admitted to sending revealing photos of himself to several women. In June 2011, Weiner resigned from his post in the aftermath of the scandal.
According to a U.S. gossip website The Dirty, the woman claiming to be Weiner’s correspondent said their interactions took place as late as last December. The website also posted messages and a censored photo of what appears to be a man’s genitals, which was supposedly sent by Weiner.
The messages also revealed that Weiner later asked the woman to destroy the evidence of their chats. The woman insisted that she never had sex with or was paid by the former congressman.
The revelation came as a slap in the face to Weiner’s supporters, who had been repeatedly assured that his cyber infidelity had ended when it was discovered by the media two years ago.
After his political career crumbled in the 2011 scandal, Weiner rose from the ashes in May and launched a bid for New York City mayor. Weiner’s campaign was well received and he rose as a favorite in the race.
The recent scandal is likely to test the voters’ softening stance toward the politician, who claimed he had effectively spent the last two years trying to amend his relationship with his wife.
Some people have expressed curiosity as to why Weiner’s wife Huma Abedin, who plays a crucial role in his campaign, has publicly offered nothing but support for her unfaithful spouse. Abedin said that she loved her husband and has forgiven him, adding that the couple is “moving forward.”
“Maybe Abedin was brave, but to what end?” wrote Amy Davidson of the New Yorker, calling her “the Preternatural Political Wife.”
Davidson speculated that Abedin’s enormous tolerance to her husband may have been the effect of her former boss Hillary Clinton, someone who is no stranger to the role of a cheated wife. Her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, had been embroiled in a sex scandal in the late 1990s during his tenure at the White House.
Abedin, who is known for political ambition of her own, may be looking to follow the footsteps of her mentor; Hillary Clinton rose as a prominent figure in U.S. politics and was on the verge of grasping the presidency in 2008.
Whether the New York voters will look over Weiner's relapse and back his return to politics is likely to be a key factor in the mayoral race.
By Yoon Min-sik