"I am deeply regretting what I have done," said Rep. Anthony Weiner this afternoon, "but I am not resigning." The New York Democrat admitted at a press conference he did indeed tweet the photo of his bulging shorts to Seattle college student Gennette Cordova: "The picture was of me, and I sent it."
He lied about it because "I was trying to protect my wife, I was trying to protect myself . . . This was a destructive thing to do that I deeply regret." He won't step down and he and his wife will not split up, either, he said. "I love her very much." Weiner said he had "several inappropriate" electronic relationships with six women over three years, including women he met on Facebook. He misled "everyone . . . media, my staff . . . This was a very dumb thing to do," he said, fighting tears. "If you're looking for some kind of deep explanation for it, I don't have one."
His wife, an aide to Hillary Clinton, knew of his other electronic postings, but "didn't know until this morning" that he had sent the underwear photo via Twitter. Grim-faced, Weiner repeatedly apologized and said he informed House minority leader Nancy Pelosi before the press conference. "She was not happy . . . she made it very clear that she thought what I did was dumb."
Weiner doesn't really know Cordova, he said, noting that "this poor woman was one of them" whom he harmed. He didn't recall specifically their earlier correspondence, but regretted involving her "unwittingly" in what became known as Weinergate. His staff "did not know the actual story here as well," he said. He sent the crotch picture to Cordova at the end of May "as part of a joke." It was "a hugely regrettable mistake" and he was now "so sorry" to have disrupted Cordova's life, he said.
He never met any of the women he corresponded with--or tweeted--and "never had any physical relationship with them," he said. But "I don't believe I did anything here that violated any law . . . [though it was] a deep personal failing." The women were "all adults, to the best of my knowledge," he said. He confessed today because he worried about "these relationships becoming public."
"At the end of the day," he said, "I lied because I didn't want to get caught."