|Members of the news media surrounded Representative Anthony D. Weiner near his apartment in Queens on Saturday.|
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Weiner Is Said to Be Planning to Seek Treatment by Raymond Hernandez and Thomas Kaplan - NYTimes.com
Representative Anthony D. Weiner planned to check himself into a treatment center on Saturday after House Democratic leaders, including Nancy Pelosi, called on him to resign and suggested he needed psychiatric counseling.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Weiner said he would request a leave of absence from the House and seek treatment, but provided no further details.
“Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person,” said the spokeswoman, Risa Heller. “In light of that, he will request a short leave of absence from the House of Representatives so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well.
“Congressman Weiner takes the views of his colleagues very seriously and has determined that he needs this time to get healthy and make the best decision possible for himself, his family and his constituents.”
Ms. Pelosi, the minority leader, was joined in her call for Mr. Weiner to step down by other leading Democrats, including the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida; and the leader of the House Democrats’ re-election efforts, Representative Steve J. Israel of New York. Their calls underscored the growing concern that his online exchanges with women had become a distraction for the party.
“Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the recognition that he needs help,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement. “I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a member of Congress.”
Ms. Wasserman Schultz called Mr. Weiner’s online exchanges a “sordid affair” that had become an “unacceptable distraction” for the congressman, his constituents and the House, according to The Associated Press.
“The behavior he has exhibited is indefensible and Rep. Weiner’s continued service in Congress is untenable,” Ms. Wasserman Schultz said.
The calls by Ms. Pelosi and the other top Democrats, who issued their statements within minutes of one another Saturday afternoon, were the culmination of a tumultuous week that began when Mr. Weiner admitted to having inappropriate conversations with at least six women online, after nearly a week of denying any wrongdoing.
The leaders’ statements reflected the panic within Democratic circles that Mr. Weiner would return to Washington this week, after a Congressional recess, and bring yet another round of controversy and distraction to House Democrats.
On Saturday afternoon, Mr. Israel called Mr. Weiner, a New York Democrat, to let him know that Mr. Weiner’s situation had become politically untenable and that he would be calling on him publicly to step down. On Friday, Mr. Weiner acknowledged he had exchanged at least five private messages on Twitter with a 17-year-old Delaware girl, but indicated that the messages were “neither explicit nor indecent.”