Two days after his confessional news conference last week, Fox News political analyst Kirsten Powers penned a scorching denunciation of the New York rep that appeared on the Daily Beast. Weiner and Powers had dated briefly nine years ago, she wrote, but remained friends — to the extent that she gladly went on TV to defend him in the wake of that first naughty tweet, as the victim of a “hack.” After realizing the extent of his lies, though, she declared in a column that “Weiner must resign from Congress immediately.”
“The part of putting myself in it was difficult,” Powers told us Thursday, just before Weiner stepped down. “I’ve never really disclosed much about my personal life. And I didn’t want to be known as ‘the girl who dated Anthony Weiner.’ But I had to say something because of my own credibility, because I’d defended him so strenuously.”
The “ex” angle was the essay’s big hook (“I had to disclose it”), but Powers said her role was no different from that of many friends and allies who’d stood up for the congressman. Powers even defended Weiner, on Greta Van Susteren’s Fox show, after Weiner confessed to the lewd tweet. But the liberal commentator says her support weakened when she went back to watch his combative, “completely self-righteous” interviews denying wrongdoing. She turned on him after reading excerpts of his exchanges with his Twitter pals.
“This is sexual harassment,” Powers said, noting that some of the women initially just wanted to talk politics. “We don’t think a congressman is a big deal, but for the average American, they’re starstruck . . . This was not ‘Anthony21’ trolling the Internet; this was Congressman Weiner using his position and influence. You should be able to follow a congressman on Twitter and not expect this kind of behavior is going to happen.”
Powers, who lives in the District with her husband, alluded in her essay to “issues” she thought her ex “needed to deal with.” Hmmm. Specifically? “I thought he was reckless in his dating life.” And Powers says she told him so. “I’d say, you don’t know who these women are. You need to be more careful.”
But that was years ago, in his single days, and even then it was nothing Powers worried would be a career-ender. “The one thing I thought he would never jeopardize is his job.”
Read also: Rep. Anthony Weiner resigns, 6/16/11
Read Kirsten Powers’s essay: Daily Beast: Anthony Weiner’s Ex: He Lied to Me