White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Monday called the scandal surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner a “distraction” and condemned the New York Democrat’s use of the Internet to send inappropriate and sexually explicit messages to at least six women.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Carney said: “The president feels, we feel at the White House, this is a distraction. As Congressman Weiner has said himself, his behavior was inappropriate, dishonesty was inappropriate.”
He added, “But the president is focused on his job, which is getting this economy continuing to grow, creating jobs and ensuring the safety and security of the American people.”
Carney, who said he was unaware of any White House aides being involved in efforts to force Weiner into resigning, stopped short of calling for the Congressman to step down.
“We think it’s a distraction from the important business that this president needs to conduct and Congress need to conduct. Beyond that I don’t have any comment,” Carney said.
Weiner has gone into seclusion since he announced Saturday that he would be taking a formal leave of absence from the House to seek unspecified professional help in connection with the scandal.
However, that decision was not good enough for top Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who called for him to resign Saturday.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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