Updated 7:32 p.m.
New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner maintained Thursday that he does not plan to resign his seat, despite growing calls from members of his own party for the seven-term congressman to step down in the wake of his admission that he conducted inappropriate online communications with at least six women.
“I’m not,” Weiner told a reporter for the New York Post on Thursday when asked if he planned to resign. “I’m going to get back to work as best I can.”
Weiner said that he is working on making amends with his wife, senior State Department aide Huma Abedin, who the New York Times reported Wednesday is pregnant with the couple’s first child.
“Conversations between my wife and me are private, but you know, she’s bearing up well and she’s back at work and she’s doing a great job,” Weiner told the New York Post.
If the decision of whether to remain in office were up to Weiner and his constituents alone, polling suggests that the New York Democrat might be able to ride out the scandal – although the fallout appears to have seriously damaged his hopes for a New York mayoral bid. A NY1-Marist poll earlier this week showed that 51 percent of New Yorkers don’t want Weiner to resign; asked whether they wanted Weiner to pursue a bid for mayor in 2013, 56 percent responded that they did not.
However, the political calculus includes not only Weiner and his district but also national Democrats, who have publicly and privately expressed concern that the nearly two-week-long scandal has distracted from their party’s efforts to focus its message on Republicans’ plans to overhaul Medicare.
Thus far, Democrats have outnumbered Republicans in their calls for their Queens-and-Brooklyn-based colleague to give up his seat: At least eight congressional Democrats have publicly called on Weiner to resign since his admission of the scandal at a teary news conference Monday, while a handful of Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), have said that Weiner should call it quits.
Asked Thursday whether he thought Weiner should resign, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a previous chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told reporters that he had no comment. Van Hollen did address the Weiner controversy earlier in the day in an interview with Washington’s WTTG-TV.
Meanwhile, the Weiner imbroglio has caused members of Congress to rein in their social networking, The Hill reported Thursday. According to a report by the Web site TweetCongress.org, which tracks congressional use of Twitter, the week of May 28 to June 3 saw a 28 percent drop in the number of tweets from lawmakers compared with the previous week.
Of course, not all members of Congress are as Twitter-savvy as Weiner, as one member, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), alluded to in a lighthearted exchange with reporters as he exited a meeting Thursday.
“Do you think I can put those up?” Conrad said, laughing, as he showed reporters several portraits of himself and his wife in formal wear. “The truth is, I wouldn’t know how! I wouldn’t even know how to get on Twitter.”