Rep. Anthony Weiner's Press Conference

Rep. Anthony Weiner's Press Conference

By Rep. Anthony Weiner - June 6, 2011

WEINER: Thank you very much for being here and good afternoon.

I'd like to take this time to clear up some of the questions that have been raised over the past 10 days or so and take full responsibility for my actions. At the outset, I'd like to make it clear that I have made terrible mistakes, that have hurt the people I care about the most, and I am deeply sorry. I have not been honest with myself, my family, my constituents, my friends, and supporters and the media.

Last Friday night, I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I had posted it to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down, and said that I had been hacked. I then continued with that story and to stick to that story which is a usually regrettable mistake.

This woman was unwittingly dragged into this and there's absolutely no responsibility. I'm so sorry to have disrupted her life on this way.

To be clear, the picture was of me and I sent it. I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife Huma and our family and my constituents, my friends, supporters, and staff.

In addition, over the past few years, I have engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, email, and occasionally on the phone with women I have met online. I've exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years.

For the most part, these relations -- these communications took place before my marriage, though some have sadly took place after. To be clear, I have never met any of these women or had physical relationships at any time.

I haven't told the truth and I've done things that I deeply regret. I've brought pain to people that I care about the most and the people who believe in me, and for that, I am deeply sorry.

I apologize to my wife and our families, as well as to our friends and supporters. I'm deeply ashamed of my terrible judgment and actions.

I'd be glad to take any questions that you might have.

REPORTER: Congressman, should you go ahead and resign?

WEINER: I came here to accept the full responsibility for what I've done.


WEINER: I am deeply regretted and regretting what I have done and I am not resigning. I have made it clear that I accept responsibility for this and people who draw conclusions about me are free to do so. I've worked for the people of my district for 13 years and politics for 20 years, and I hope that they see fit to see in the light that it is, which is a deeply, regrettable mistake.


REPORTER: Congressman, (INAUDIBLE) before you were married and after you were married, and you were a member of Congress before then. (INAUDIBLE)

WEINER: I think it's more inappropriate the things that I have done since I've been married. My primary -- my primary sense of regret and my primary apology goes to my wife. I should not have done this. And I should not have done this particularly when I was married. That's why I make that distinction.

REPORTER: Why would you do this after you were married? The questions people, the constituents and a lot of us, that is, what were you thinking?

WEINER: You know, I don't know what I was thinking. This was a destructive thing to do and I'm apologetic for doing it. It was deeply, deeply hurtful to the people I care about the most. It was something that I did that was just wrong and I regret it.


REPORTER: -- for this kind of activity and is that a violation of the public trust?

WEINER: I did not.

REPORTER: Did you use the congressional phone, congressional emails and congressional --

WIENER: No, I didn't do -- listen, I'm going to try to tell you everything that I can remember. It was my BlackBerry is not a government BlackBerry. My home computer is usually where I did these things. I don't have the knowledge of every last communication but I don't believe that I used any government resources.

WEINER: -- Blackberry is not a government Blackberry. My home computer is usually where I did these things. I don't have the knowledge of every last communication but I don't believe that I used any government resources.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) not more than 20 minutes ago and claimed you had an X-rated photo of you. Can you say that that is not true?

WEINER: No, I cannot. I regret not being honest about this. This was a big mistake to -- I was embarrassed. I was humiliated. I'm still to this moment.

I was trying to protect my wife. I was trying to protect myself from shame. It was a mistake, and I really regret it.



WEINER: This was a mistake, and I'm very sorry for it and I take it seriously but I am -- and where I go from here and what steps I take, I take it seriously. This was a destructive thing to do that I deeply regret.

QUESTION: Congressman, your wife is not here. Are you going to split up with your wife because of this?

WEINER: I love my wife very much. I love my wife very much, and we have no intention of splitting up over this. We have been through a great deal together, and we will -- we will weather this. I love her very much, and she loves me.


QUESTION: Where is she?


WEINER: These are generally -- in some cases I initiated them. Generally women that I met on Facebook.

QUESTION: Do you have anything to say to Andrew Breitbart?

WEINER: I'm deeply apologetic, first and foremost, to my wife, for the many people that put so much faith and confidence in me, that watched me make this terrible mistake. But everyone that I have misled -- everyone in the media, my staff, the people that I lied to about this, they all deserve an apology.

QUESTION: But after Chris Braddock, after Eliot Spitzer, why would you do such a thing, especially as a member of public office?

WEINER: This was a very dumb thing to do and it was a destructive thing to do. But it wasn't part of any plan to be hurtful to my wife, it wasn't a plan to be deceitful to you, it wasn't part of a plan to be -- it wasn't part of a plan. It was a destructive thing that I did, that I accept responsibility for. But if you're looking for some kind of deep explanation for it, I simply don't have one except that I'm sorry.

QUESTION: When (INAUDIBLE0 sent that photo, did that make you stop and think maybe I shouldn't do that (INAUDIBLE)?

WEINER: I didn't think of it that way. I would think about -- from time to time, I would say to myself, this is a mistake or this conversation, someone could listen in on or translate to someone else. This was a -- I know that there is the sense that everything is part of a plan and it was thought through and calculated. In this case, it was just me doing a very dumb thing. And for that I accept the responsibility.


QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Can you tell us when you sent the pictures?

WEINER: I didn't see any of the pictures that were released today. I can tell you that there were some women that I had conversations with that - that inappropriate things were sent by me. And I accept responsibility for that.


The last thing on this day when I have done this harm to my wife and my family, that I'm standing before all of you and accepting responsibility for this shameful thing, is thinking about next year's election or the election after that. The first thing I need to do is make sure that obviously that this never, ever happens again and that I make it up to my wife and my family and to all of the people that I have harmed.

QUESTION: Are you going to receive professional help?

WEINER: I have not -- I'm going to try to handle thi, and I haven't ruled out perhaps seeing someone. But I'm not blaming anyone. This is not something that can be treated away. This is my own personal mistake. This is not something that -- this is a weakness, a deep weakness that I have demonstrated, and for that I apologize.


WEINER: Some of these relationships, some date back, I think, as much as three years.


QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) -- When did you decide that you couldn't stick with your original story and you'd have to come out yourself.

WEINER: Almost from the moment that I -- you know, when you say something like that that was so wrong -- I was embarrassed. And I didn't want it to lead it to other embarrassing things. And I did -- it was a dumb thing to do, to try to tell lies about it because it just led to more lies. But almost immediately after I said the lie, I knew that I was putting people in a very bad position and I didn't want to continue doing it.



WEINER: Excuse me?

QUESTION: Did any of the women ever ask you for money in exchange for not coming forward? (INAUDIBLE)


QUESTION: Was Megan one of the women?

WEINER: Megan (INAUDIBLE) was one of the women.

QUESTION: Sir, when did you tell your wife? When did you tell your wife?

WEINER: My wife has known about some of these online relationships since before we were married and we spoke frankly about them because -- we've always spoke frankly about them. But she didn't know until this morning that I had not been telling the truth about whether I had posted the Twitter posting last week.


WEINER: I'm here primarily to express my apologies to my wife and family but anyone who were misled, all of you who were misled, the people who I lied to, I have an apology for all of them

QUESTION: But not specifically to him?

WEINER: Look. I believe that - I'll - I believe that everyone deserves an apology here, and I'll be -- here's what --


QUESTION: Where is your wife right now?

WEINER: I apologize to Andrew Breitbart. I apologize to the many other members of the media that I misled. I apologize first and foremost to my wife and to my family.

QUESTION: Where is she right now? Where is she right now?

WEINER: She is not here.

QUESTION: Where is she?


WEINER: I don't have -- that's -- no. I have a loving wife. I don't -- it's not anything like that. I treated it as a frivolous thing, not acknowledging that it was causing harm to so many people and would eventually come out. Yes, sir?


WEINER: I spoke briefly to Leader Pelosi before I came over here. She said to be truthful, and she said to say what you know and was thankful that I was doing that today.


WEINER: She was not happy. Told me as much. She -- my primary apology, as I've said several time, is to my wife, Huma. But she made it very clear that she thought what I did was very dumb and she was not happy. So, and she is very disappointed. And she also told me that -- that she loved me and wanted us to, you know, pull through this.


WEINER: I'm sorry, sir?


WEINER: I did a regrettable thing, and for that I apologize.

QUESTION: You said that you were on the phone. Did you have phone sex with these women. Did you ever have an affair with one of these women?

WEINER: I've never, as I said in any statement, I never met any of these women.

QUESTION: Did you have phone sex?

WEINER: I never was in the same room with them. I never had any physical relationship whatsoever.

I am reluctant to, for their privacy and since their names are confidential (ph), but I am not going to but I'm not going to rebut anything or dispute anything that any of the women that have come forward have said. They have every right to do so. So, I am not going to make any evidence to characterize those conversations.

QUESTION: -- oath of office to - to do this while you may not have used congressional phone, congressional e-mail, but to do it on congressional time as a congressman --

WEINER: Well, I guess -- I mean, congressional time could theoretically be anything. Congressmen work long hours. But I don't believe I did anything here that violates any law or violates my oath to my constituents.

What I did is something that demonstrated a very deep personal failing, and that's why I'm here to apologize.


QUESTION: When you say (ph) in the photos that exist, is there any other type of behavior that in the privacy (INAUDIBLE) you've conducted as a congressman that you could be ashamed of? Is there anything - have you solicited or engaged in any service with women or --

WEINER: No, I've never had sex outside my marriage. And I've done these things, and I regret them. But I have never done anything -- never done anything that you described. And I don't know where else to get it.

QUESTION: Was there alcohol or drugs involved in --

WEINER: I'm not making any excuses for my behavior. I don't do drugs. I was not drinking. That wasn't the cause of this. This was me doing a dumb thing and doing it repeatedly and then lying about it. And that's all there is.

I'm here to accept responsibility for this. I'm not asking to shift the blame to anyone else or to any external force or anything else.

QUESTION: Congressman, have you had contact with Miss Cordova after --

WEINER: I did. I did. I didn't speak to her. We exchanged some text messages. Mostly from me to express my abject apologies for how she got dragged into this.

QUESTION: Have you ever spoken to her before via --

WEINER: No. Yes. Yes. We had exchanged some perfunctory direct messages, but there wasn't -- we had never spoken.


WEINER: I have not. And I just -- look, my wife is a remarkable woman. She's not responsible for any of this. This was visited upon her. She's getting back to work, and I apologize to her very deeply.

QUESTION: Congressman, how --

WEINER: We'll have to make that determination. I mean, I'm here to state my apologies. I'm here to take responsibility.

But beyond that, my constituents have to make that determination. It's up to them that believes that they don't want to vote for me, I'm going to work very hard to win back their trust and to try to persuade them. This is a personal failing of mine that I have worked very hard for my constituents for a very long time, very long hours. And nothing about this should reflect in any way on my official duties or on my oath of office.


WEINER: I'm sorry, sir?


WEINER: I'll leave that for people to - I certainly used bad judgement here, that's for sure. And if someone wants to draw that conclusion, I can't stop them. I'm here to accept responsibility for some very bad decisions.

QUESTION: These girls were very young, 21 years old. Does it bother you that they are very young --

WEINER: I don't know the exact ages of the women and they --

QUESTION: That could be your children.

WEINER: I don't know the exact ages of the women, and I don't know if you do. I'm going to respect their privacy. But they are all adults. At least to the best of my knowledge, they were all adults and they were engaging in these conversations consensually.

QUESTION: But if you don't know how old they are, how do you know they are adults?

WEINER: Well, all I know is what they publish about themselves in social media. Someone could have been fibbing about it. And that's a risk --





QUESTION: Congressman, are you surprised by the reaction that your colleagues have had about this issue (INAUDIBLE) given your delegation and other people (INAUDIBLE)?

WEINER: Look, this - this -- I wasn't telling the truth. I had done something that was dishonorable. I had lied. I don't begrudge anyone for not leaping to my defense in that circumstance. This was -- you know, I don't -- this isn't anyone else's fault. This isn't -- didn't demonstrate their bad judgment or their mistakes. This was me. I did it. And I take responsibility for that, and I'm not looking to point blame or share responsibility with anyone.


WEINER: I'm going to go back to work and I'm going to try to convince them that this was a personal failing, that is an abberation from which I have learned, and all I can do is just keep doing what I've done, which is work hard every day.

There wasn't anything about this I would say that changes my ability or my record of getting bills passed or filling potholes or fulfilling community service. This was a personal failing. I hope that they see it that way. And I don't begrudge them if they see it as such a personal failing and won't vote for me, that's - that's their decision. And I'm going to have to work very hard.

QUESTION: Congressman, members of Democratic leadership called on Mark Foley, called on (INAUDIBLE) to resign. Do you see any hypocrisy in the fact that you've (INAUDIBLE)

WEINER: Well, I don't want to get into anyone else's situation, but I can tell you about mine. And it's one that I regret that it didn't have to do with my government service per se. It had to do with a personal weakness, but people can draw their own conclusions about that. But I'm not resigning, and I'm going to try to go back to work a better person and a better man. I'm going to try -- try to be a better husband, too.


QUESTION: What did your wife say?

WEINER: She was very unhappy. She was very disappointed, and she told me as much. And she also said that she loved me and said we were going to get through this -

REPRESENTATIVE ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: And she told me as much and she also said that she loved me and said we were going to get through this, but she deserves much better than this and I know that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you explain why here, why now you come out and say this?

WEINER: Look, my primary concern about the entire incident to begin with was my concern about some of these relationships that I had becoming public and it seems that what I had done by denying the original action had only served to make things worse and only served to lead to people being asked longer, tougher questions.

It's really true, you know, that the smarter better thing to do would be to just tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may, even if they came to this place. And that was the mistake and that's why I'm here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you cheat? Was this a frat boy antic? Are you addicted to --

WEINER: I'll leave it to someone else. I mean, all I can do is give you the facts that I laid out in my statement. I know that I never met these women and I know never really had much desire to and to me it was almost a frivolous exchange among friends that I don't think I made an important enough distinction about how hurtful it was and how inappropriate it was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where, you know, certitude that you say that is not something that you can rely on, how do you know that these women are not underage or they are not truthful about their own self?

WEINER: You know, of course, no one ever knows that, but I know that I never had any intention of having any interaction with underage women and no information that I have now shows that I did.

But, yes, whenever you engage with anyone, and that's true of -- that's always true in social media that you're relying upon their characterizations and I took them at those characterizations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you at all disturbed about the fact that --

WEINER: Look, I am sorry and I continue to be, but I don't see anything that I did that violated any rules of the House. I don't see anything that I did that certainly violated my oath of office to uphold the constitution.

I engaged in inappropriate online conversations with people that included the photographs and it was a mistake to do that, but I don't believe that I did anything that violates any law or any rule.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you worried that you were going to get caught at some point and that was part of the appeal of it?

WEINER: No, I didn't have the sense that they were complete strangers. These were people that I had developed relationships with online and I believed that we had become -- we had become friends, but that was clearly a mistake and I clearly regret that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But they were young enough to be your daughters.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) these women --

WEINER: We had -- I mean, I don't know her and I still don't really know her. She was a follower who we had cursory direct message contact. She was having trouble with some people that were tweeting about her and giving her a hard time because she was following me.

And it was a mistake and I just want to make it very clear, of all the -- there are a long list of people that I harmed here but this poor woman was one of them as well and I deeply regret that she got dragged into it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The perils of social media of public officials, would you subject that they remove their Twitter accounts?

WEINER: No, I suggest that not to people stop engaging with their constituents via social media, but not to do dumb things like this that are dishonest to their families, that are deceitful to the press when they are asked about them, to not do things like this.

There is nothing inherently wrong with social media. There is nothing inherently wrong with these outlets. What I did was a mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you shut down your Twitter account?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you approach her or tell her not to --

WEINER: At no time did I or any member of my staff try to do anything to cover anything up. She did reach out to me and express what -- how she had been set upon and I expressed my apologies to her, but there was no coaching of any sort going on. And it was basically me saying what I have said here today, which is how deeply sorry I am for my actions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) were admired, Congressman?

WEINER: No, my staff has never had any contact with her. My staff did not know the actual story here. I misled them as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you telling your staff now?

WEINER: They only heard the full story kind of late this afternoon as I was getting ready to come over here. They are -- and they've worked -- they are another group of people that I have letdown. In fact, they knew nothing and I deeply regret putting them into the circumstance of having to defend me when I knew myself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there any predatory about your behavior?

WEINER: Look, the women that I have been in contact with, without violating their privacy. They are not uniformly young women. I don't know their ages, but the people that I've had these engagements with on Facebook are not -- are not young per se.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this violation of your oath of office?

WEINER: I am deeply sorry that I lied about this, but at the end of the day, I lied because I was embarrassed. I lied because I was ashamed of what I had done and didn't want to get caught. But did I violate the constitution of the United States by lying about posting a Twitter post?

I certainly don't think so and I haven't spoke to anyone who did, but if people want to say that this is a violation of my oath because I sent a Twitter that I regretted and I lied about it and obviously people are entitled to their --


WEINER: I don't believe I'll use it the same way, that's for sure. And I deeply regret the way I've used it today, but for my use of Twitter.

I mean, it's not -- it's something that I found useful and Facebook is a way to get out some message. But I certainly wouldn't obviously do the things that I had done that led me to this place.


WEINER: Of course, I would. I did not. I did not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you help to support Arnold's love child?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) in the first place.

WEINER: They were inappropriate. They were part of a consensual, you know, exchanges of e-mails and I don't want to violate the privacy of the women who were involved, but it was clearly mistaken, one that I deeply regret. Thank you.


Rep. Anthony Weiner

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