Weiner Tries Damage Control
Rep. Anthony Weiner Wednesday launched a public-relations frontal assault designed to bury the “Weinergate” scandal that has embroiled the New York Democrat over the past several days.
Although Weiner refused to discuss the scandal with reporters in the halls of the Capitol, he was working through a series of one-on-one interviews with cable and network news outlets designed to put the controversy to bed.
On Friday, a photograph of underwear-clad male genitalia was reportedly sent to a Washington state college student from Weiner’s Twitter account. Weiner quickly pulled down the picture and claimed he was the victim of a hacker’s prank.
In his interview with MSNBC, Weiner said that while he did not post the picture, he “can’t say with certitude” that the picture is not of him.
Weiner told MSNBC that he was hiring a private investigator to look into the incident rather than file a formal complaint with law enforcement agencies. Capitol Police and the FBI have said they are not looking into the issue.
As of early Wednesday afternoon, most of his colleagues were refusing to discuss the topic.
“I can’t comment on that,” said House Ethics Committee ranking member Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.).
“It’s a law enforcement issue and I’m not going to comment on that,” said fellow New York Rep. Peter King (R).
On Tuesday, Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) feigned ignorance and refused to comment, while Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said, “Hang in there,” to Weiner as the lawmaker was being trailed by numerous reporters.
Weiner’s media tour came less than 24 hours after he vowed to stop commenting on the issue.
“The decision that I’ve made, and you can disagree with it, that after two and a half days of various statements that answer these questions, that I’m not going to keep drilling into further details and further details — even the questions, even the obvious questions, even the questions I’ve answered before, because I don’t believe in the idea that you believe in that oh, this will end it,” he told reporters Tuesday.
Anna Palmer contributed to this report.