In an extraordinary reversal at an extraordinary news conference, Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York admitted Monday afternoon that he had repeatedly lied to his constituents and the country in denying that he had sent a lewd picture of himself to a college-age woman on Twitter.
In a tearful admission, he said that he had in fact sent multiple inappropriate messages to multiple women but that he had done nothing illegal and would not resign.
“The picture was of me, and I sent it,” said Weiner (D), who called it “a very dumb thing to do,” “a hugely regrettable mistake” and “destructive.”
“I am deeply ashamed,” said Weiner, his jaw clenched.
Soon after he finished speaking, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who he said had urged him to tell the whole truth, called on the House ethics committee to investigate the case.
For Weiner, a seven-term congressman who was seen as a leading candidate to become the next mayor of New York, the collapse is all the more stunning in light of the heights he had reached in his party and as a spokesman for its liberal wing. In the aftermath of his mea culpa, Republican leaders mostly stood back and watched the public self-immolation of one of their sharpest antagonists.