Anthony Weiner thinks his brief absence from elected office means the public will forget his disrespect and disdain for women. He’s wrong. He didn’t just treat strange women like sex objects, he harassed female journalists who work on Capitol Hill. Two of us work at The Washington Times.
Mr. Weiner was forced to resign from Congress in 2011 because he was caught texting and tweeting pictures of his private parts to women, some from the House members’ gym. The married Democratic congressman thought the scandal would blow over, but House Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Deborah Wasserman-Shultz were so disgusted with his behavior, they told him to take a hike.
A year earlier, The Washington Times White House Correspondent Susan Crabtree was covering Congress for The Hill. She was reporting on the House Ethics Committee’s conviction of Rep. Charles Rangel, New York Democrat, and possible punishment. She wrote that her sources said Mr. Weiner might speak on the floor in defense of Mr. Rangel to get a lighter penalty than censure.
Mr. Weiner was furious with the story, probably because it could jeopardize his mayoral ambitions by being associated with the tax cheat. On Dec. 2, Mr. Weiner saw Ms. Crabtree in the Speaker’s Lobby, which is the area off the House floor where reporters wait to talk to members as the enter or leave the chamber.
Ms. Crabtree asked him if he would be speaking in Mr. Rangel’s defense that day. He replied that she had not verified that detail in her story. She told him that she had had two very good sources that said, exactly as she wrote, that he was considering speaking.
Mr. Weiner then gave her the middle finger — in front of all the other reporters — and quickly walked away.
The congressman wasn’t just being a jerk and targeting a female journalist, but he was deceitful about his intentions.
As Ms. Crabtree reported the following day, during the censure vote, Mr. Weiner and two other Democratic members of the New York delegation gathered around Mr. Rangel in the well of the chamber to show their solidarity.
Six months after Mr. Weiner flipped off Ms. Crabtree, he subjected me to humiliating sexual comments. I was covering the sexting scandal for The Times. On June 1, the whole Capitol Hill press corps was looking for Mr. Weiner to get some answers.
I happened to be the only reporter in the Speaker’s Lobby when Mr. Weiner walked out, clearly looking for someone to tell more of his lies about the scandal.
At this point, he was still denying everything, telling the press that his Twitter account had been hacked. The other women had not yet come forward to show their own naked pictures sent by the congressman.
That day, Mr. Weiner stopped when I approached him and moved in very closely, about six inches from me. He debated me on the charges against him by making sexually explicit jokes at me. As this went on, dozens of reporters crowded around us in a huddle.
Here is the encounter, which I tape-recorded. I’ve italicized the worst parts. Click here to listen to the entire audio.
Weiner: We don’t know where the photograph came from. We don’t know for sure what’s on it. We don’t know for sure if it was manipulated. If it was taken out of one place and dropped something else. And I’m going to let the firm get to the bottom of all that. Jon Stewart might have actually been right last night.