Rep. Allyson Schwartz (Pa.) on Wednesday became the first member of Democratic leadership to call on Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) to resign over his handling of a continuing sex scandal involving online social media.
In a statement released by her office Wednesday, Schwartz, chairwoman of recruitment and candidate services for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said: “Having the respect of your constituents is fundamental for a Member of Congress. In light of Anthony Weiner’s offensive behavior online, he should resign.”
Weiner on Monday held a rambling, often uncomfortable press conference in which he acknowledged that he had sexual communications online with six women, which included sending explicit pictures of himself.
The press conference angered many Democrats, who felt betrayed because the bombastic New Yorker had assured them for days that he had done nothing wrong. Instead, he claimed conservative activists had hacked his online accounts.
Although publicly they have avoided questions about whether he should resign, top Democrats have sought to quietly push Weiner to do so. For instance, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) and DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) all called for an ethics investigation into the scandal.
According to sources close to Democratic leadership, Pelosi and others had hoped Weiner would resign rather than go through a prolonged and embarrassing inquiry.
But so far, Weiner has remained steadfast in his insistence that he will not step down. A source close to the New York Congressional delegation said that in conversations with other Members since his disastrous press conference Monday, Weiner has insisted he will not resign. Those sources speculated it will likely take a serious push from leadership for Weiner to reconsider.
Schwartz joins several Democrats who publicly called for his resignation, including Sen. Mark Pryor (Ark.), former Virginia Gov. and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine and Rep. Mike Michaud (Maine).
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.