During an uneasy and somewhat riotous press conference (the congressman was interrupted and heckled more than once) this afternoon at a senior center in Brooklyn, N.Y, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) officially announced his resignation from Congress — where he occupied a seat for 12 years — in the wake of the Twitter scandal which erupted earlier this month.
Amid a flurry of flashbulbs, Weiner talked about everything from his humble beginnings in New York to the recent turn of events and, as he called it, “the distraction” he has caused. Weiner also apologized for his actions, telling the press and the nation, “I’m here today to again apologize for the personal mistakes I have made … I make this apology to my neighbors, my constituents and … particularly to my wife Huma.” He continued, “Today I announce my resignation from congress so my colleagues can get back to work, my neighbors can choose a new representative and my wife and I can continue to heal from the damage I have caused,” a statement he had to repeat as someone in the room had shouted over him.
Both the press conferences (this and the previous one in which he denied the allegations and claimed his Twitter was hacked) and the resignation itself marked a sad end to a once-respected and continually evolving political career, as any Weiner supporter will point out. Long before the widely publicized sexting scandal broke and he became late night talk show television fodder, the 46-year-old Democrat who had represented New York’s 9th district, was something of a star in his own right.
Weiner gained notoriety (and a band of devoted followers) over the past few years for his passionate, non-nonsense — and, as some might suggest, hot-headed — approach to the political world. While Weiner will likely be remembered for the now-infamous recent turn of events and resignation, his tirade against Republicans that voted “no” on the 9/11 health care bill will resonate more with others than lewd photos on the Internet or disorderly press conferences. In a heated moment on the floor of Congress in 2009, Weiner urged his fellow politicians to “do the right thing” and his order “The gentleman will sit!” when he was interrupted, quickly became a viral sensation. Watch below:
Of course, this was just one of many memorable moments from the former Congressman. From trading verbal barbs with Fox News anchors, including a war of overlapping words with Megyn Kelly (watch for Weiner’s biting send-off from the interview) to his sense of humor (he made visits to his longtime friend Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, as well as going toe to toe with Stephen Colbert, see below), Weiner was admired by many as brash, bold, and refreshingly daring. Only time will tell if it’s the Anthony Weiner of the past few years that will be remembered, or if the infamy will override his legacy.
Watch more of some of Rep. Anthony Weiner’s most memorable moments in office, PopWatchers, and let us know your feelings on the recent turn of events, as well as your feelings on the congressman’s career, in the comments section below.