Rep. Anthony Weiner deflected reporters’ questions Tuesday regarding a lewd photo that surfaced on his Twitter stream, calling the matter “a distraction” from more pressing issues.
But even as the New York Democrat declined to engage on the topic, he did briefly answer one of the several lingering questions surrounding the incident, which the seven-term lawmaker has charged was the work of a hacker.
“Look, here’s the decision that I’ve made,” Weiner replied, “and you can disagree with it, that after 21 / 2 days of various statements that answer these questions, that I’m not going to keep drilling into further details and further details, even one, even the easy questions – hear me out, hear me out – even the easy questions, even the obvious questions, even the ones that I’ve answered before, because I don’t believe in the idea that you believe in, that, ‘Oh, well, this’ll end it.’ ”
Weiner’s office said Monday that the congressman had retained an attorney following the incident. Neither Weiner nor his spokesman have directly responded to several questions about the matter, including whether the photo of an underwear-clad groin was of Weiner or whether Weiner has asked law enforcement officials to investigate.
A confrontational interview with Weiner aired by CNN earlier Tuesday brought further scrutiny of the congressman’s response to the incident.
In explaining why he was declining to answer any questions at all, Weiner told reporters that he had received “four separate e-mails from a New York Post reporter saying, ‘If you just answer this one question, it’ll be over.’ ”
“I’m going to do the work that I think I’ve got to do, and somewhere I’ve got to say — maybe you disagree where, you obviously don’t believe this is the moment — somewhere I’ve got to say I’m done talking about it,” he continued. “I’m going to decide what I’m going to talk about for the next several days, and it’s not going to be this, and I just hope you respect that.”
One of the reporters questioning Weiner just outside the House chamber then asked: “Did you ever send a Twitter message to a porn star named Ginger Lee?”
“See what I mean?” Weiner responded. “Need I say more?”
Another reporter asked Weiner why his Twitter account had been following Gennette Nicole Cordova, the 21-year-old Seattle-area journalism student to whom the lewd photo was addressed.
“Just do me a favor,” Weiner responded. “You can do it if you want — I don’t know if you have any idea how to use a computer — but #WeinerYes. It should answer that question. There. Now I’ve violated my own rule because you’ve been persistent. There you go.”
On May 13, the congressman sent a tweet to his tens of thousands of Twitter followers, telling them to send him a message including “#WeinerYes” if they wanted him to follow their accounts.
Two days later, on May 15, Weiner tweeted the hashtag again. “Thanks for all the #WeinerYes tweets. Now I’m #WeinerSwamped. I’m gonna do some #WeinerFollowingYou adds today,” he wrote.
That answered one question. But what about the others?
“Take a look at my statements over the weekend,” Weiner said before entering an elevator off the House floor. “You’re not being fair to me.”