WASHINGTON — Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, called today for Rep. Anthony Weiner’s resignation, making him the first in Connecticut’s congressional delegation to urge the New York congressman’s ouster over inappropriate photographs Weiner sent to women via Twitter.
Weiner has so far resisted calls from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and others to give up his House seat. Even as more photographs of a half-naked Weiner surfaced over the weekend, the brash New York Democrat said he would seek professional help, but not resign.
Like other Connecticut Democrats, Himes last week expressed disapproval of Weiner’s conduct. Elizabeth Kerr, a spokeswoman for Himes, said “over the course of the weekend,” Himes decided he could no longer support Weiner’s efforts to hold onto his House seat.
“While millions of Americans go without work, families throughout the country fear foreclosures, and our nation faces a fiscal crisis, we cannot afford the continued distraction of this sorry situation,” Himes said in a statement Monday. “I hope Mr. Weiner will choose to step down so Congress can put this matter to rest and so that he can focus on his personal situation.”
Kerr said Himes will also give back the $2,000 in campaign donations he got from Weiner–$1,000 in 2008 and $1,000 in 2010–to a charity in Stamford.
Last week, Himes declined to say definitively whether he would give the money back. Other House Democrats, including Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, dumped their Weiner campaign cash last week in what has become a new Washington ritual for politicians wishing to distance themselves from a floundering colleague.
All of Connecticut’s House members have urged an investigation by the House Ethics Committee to see if Weiner violated any House rules in his social media exchanges with women. But no one else has called yet for his ouster, even as Pelosi and other top Democratic leaders actively seek his ouster.
The Connecticut Democrat whose opinion could have the most influence as this scandal unfolds is Rep. John Larson, who is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. But Larson, D-1st District, has been relatively quiet so far.
He didn’t respond to a request for an interview on Monday. And his spokesman said he might not hold his weekly media availability on Tuesday because of a scheduling conflict.
So far, the only statement from Larson on Weiner’s conduct came after Pelosi called for an ethics inquiry. “Leader Pelosi was right to call for an investigation into this matter and it ought to proceed in as timely a fashion as possible,” Larson said last week. That statement, of course, has since been eclipsed by Pelosi’s call Weiner’s resignation