WASHINGTON — House Democratic colleagues of scandal-scarred Rep. Anthony Weiner are looking for him to step down this week amid a growing chorus for him to resign. Even President Barack Obama has suggested he should leave.
Adding to the drama, Weiner’s pregnant wife, Huma Abedin, returned Wednesday from a trip to Africa with her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
A fellow member of Weiner’s New York Democratic delegation, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, said she’s heard from Weiner’s friends that the congressman is waiting for his wife to come home before making any decisions about his political future. McCarthy also cited talk among Weiner’s friends about the possibility he could resign this week.
Weiner is on a temporary leave of absence from Congress, in treatment for an undisclosed disorder at an undisclosed location. He has acknowledged exchanging messages and photos, which ranged from sexually suggestive to explicit, with several women online.
House Democrats huddled behind closed doors Tuesday for their regular party meeting, but they decided against taking action against Weiner in hopes that he’ll resign soon.
The House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, reiterated her call for Weiner to quit, saying after the meeting that she wanted to make sure nobody missed her earlier resignation call while members were on a weeklong recess.
Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., said: “I think we should send a strong message to him that he should resign, and let’s see what happens. The more of us who say it, the more telling it will be.”
House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, had been content to let Democrats wrestle with the embarrassing scandal, but when asked Tuesday whether Weiner should resign, he responded, “Yes.”
The furor over sexually suggestive photos and other revelations about the 46-year-old congressman has been a distraction for Democrats seeking momentum as they gear up for the 2012 elections. Besides Pelosi, several other Democrats have called for Weiner to quit, including the party chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.