Anthony Weiner will not drop out of the New York City mayoral race, saying Friday that neither he nor the press should decide whether his past precludes him from future public service.
"It's not up to you decide, it's not up to me decide, voters I want to make this decision," Weiner told a group of reporters at a press conference in Tottenville, Staten Island. "And they've got plenty of information on me to make it on, and I want to give them more every day."The former congressman acknowledged on Tuesday that he had continued to engage in explicit online exchanges after resigning from Congress in 2011. On Thursday, he estimated that he had illicit online relationships with six to 10 women while in Congress and no more than three after resigning.
He was careful Friday not to express any anger at reporters for repeatedly questioning him on his sexual exploits, saying that he believed the questions to be valid. But, he said, "I'm going to have to hope that sooner or later were going to have to get back to issues people care about." Tottenville was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy, and Weiner suggested that the focus on his campaign might also bring some light to the area's recovery.
While Weiner acknowledged that he has been asked about his behavior on the campaign trail, he argued that regular New Yorkers also had other concerns.
"Many people want to talk about their future, not necessarily my past," he said.
He said it was "not true" that he had asked Sydney Leathers to stay quiet about their online relationship, and he said he would not respond to what she or anyone else had said about him. But he did express hope that he could win back the trust of his former colleagues in the House, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Thursday, Pelosi called Weiner's behavior "reprehensible."