The top two House Republicans on Thursday gave contrasting responses to the incident involving a lewd photo sent from Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-N.Y.) Twitter account.
Asked about the matter Thursday morning, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) spoke at length in an interview on “Fox and Friends.”
“You know, it’s just -- I think the American people are sick of seeing their elected officials tied up in the scandals like this,” Cantor told Fox News Channel’s Steve Doocy.
Cantor said that his advice to Weiner would be “to come clean and clear it up,” and he expressed sympathy for Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin. Weiner and Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were married last year.
“I mean, again, perhaps he’s trying, but I know there’s a lot of explaining going on without a lot of clarity,” Cantor said. “And again, the American people are right in saying that they don’t have tolerance for this repeated kind of activity going on surrounding their elected leaders. Again, think about his wife. I mean, I’m really saddened for his wife, and I think they’ve only been married a short time.” Weiner and Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were married last year.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), however, declined to weigh in at all.
“I think you’ll have to talk to Representative Weiner about that,” Boehner said during a news conference Thursday. Asked whether he believed the House Ethics Committee should take any action on the incident, Boehner repeated: “You’ll have to talk to Representative Weiner about this issue.”
After rebuffing questions from reporters on Tuesday, Weiner changed course Wednesday and began a media blitz that answered some questions – he did not take the phot, he said – but raised even more. Weiner said he could not say “with certitude” that the photo was not of himself.
The Weiner incident marks the third time in the past 15 months that a member of New York’s congressional delegation has been involved in a national controversy over his personal conduct. In April, former Rep. Chris Lee (R) abruptly resigned after it was reported that the married congressman had sent a suggestive photo of himself to a woman via the Internet. And last March, former Rep. Eric Massa (D) resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment by several staffers.
“These are personal issues,” freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth, a Republican and member of New York’s congressional delegation, said Thursday. “And as you know, there have been these sorts of problems among members from many states, so it’s not unique to New York. And I certainly hope that Congressman Weiner will do the right thing. ... He says he’s investigating this issue. Clearly there’s a lot of scrutiny on it. Whatever comes out, I hope he will respect the standards of conduct that are expected of holders of this particular office.”