DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was on Meet The Press today where she made it clear that going to treatment wasn’t enough. Rep. Anthony Weiner must resign.
Here is the video from NBC News:
Here is the transcript:
MR. GREGORY: What, what led to the change? Why now call for him to resign?
REP. SCHULTZ: Well, I think that since this story broke we were giving Congressman Weiner some breathing room to be able to be, be circumspect, do the right thing, make a–you know, reach the conclusion that, that he needed to step back and step down on his own. And as of yesterday, when that didn’t happen, it was important to, to weigh in.
MR. GREGORY: But before his actual admission, you spoke about this during an interview, and this is what you said.
REP. SCHULTZ: Anthony Weiner is dealing with a personal matter, and it should be left as a personal matter.
MR. GREGORY: When did it become less a personal matter and more an issue of public trust?
REP. SCHULTZ: Well, I made that statement before it had been revealed that Anthony had not been truthful, and that, that, that he was engaged in the conduct that he had been denying at the time. And once he crossed that threshold, acknowledged that, that he’d been lying, had engaged in conduct that is, you know, completely unacceptable and indefensible…
REP. SCHULTZ: …that’s where I thought that the–that’s where I thought the line was crossed.
MR. GREGORY:..But is this enough that he seeks treatment, or would you still like him to straight out resign?
REP. SCHULTZ: The statement I made speaks for itself yesterday. I think Anthony Weiner needs to resign so he can focus on his family, focus on his own well-being, and make sure that…
MR. GREGORY: So there’s going to be more pressure from top Democrats to say this is not quite enough, leave of absence is not enough, he should step down completely.
REP. SCHULTZ: I think Leader Pelosi, Steve Israel, myself, we all came together yesterday…
MR. GREGORY: Well, what, what is it you can do? I mean, he’s obviously not listening to the admonitions of his colleagues.
REP. SCHULTZ: Well, at, at the end of the day, you know, a member of Congress makes their own decision, and that, that’s certainly going to be up to Anthony Weiner. But we have made clear that he needs to resign, he needs to focus on, on getting his, his own personal issues in order…
MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.
REP. SCHULTZ: …focus on his family and, and do the right thing…
MR. GREGORY: From your, from your…
REP. SCHULTZ: …by his constituents.
Rep. Schultz kept saying this is about Anthony Weiner’s family, but in reality Democrats just want him gone. This isn’t about his family. This is about the politics of bad coverage through news cycles. Wasserman Schultz and many of the Democrats who are calling for Weiner’s head are rightfully angry because he lied to them.
How long do we have to keep up this charade that this is about Rep. Weiner and his family? I would have a whole lot more respect for the Democratic leadership if they said publicly what they are thinking and saying privately. Weiner is taking the party off message. He has embarrassed the Democratic Party and all of its supporters who defended him. He is hurting the Party, and he has got to go.
This whole holier than thou moral outrage shtick is really getting old. Can we all just tell the truth? This is about politics. Weiner’s seat will likely stay with the Democrats no matter what, so he is not needed in any way. The conduct was shameful, but Weiner’s lying is the real political problem.
Here is an alternate scenario. What if Weiner would have confessed that the pics were him, and he sent them right away? If Rep. Weiner would have confessed and announced that he was entering treatment, he probably would have had had the support of his colleagues, and the story would have disappeared quickly. Instead, he lied and embarrassed his friends, colleagues, and supporters. Now they want him gone, and there is nothing he can do, short of resignation, that will get the pressure off of him.
Politically, unless the voters in his district turn on him, Anthony Weiner can probably weather this. The moral question of whether he should step down is a different story.
From a media management perspective, Democratic leaders and their members need to stop feeding this story. With each call for resignation or television interview, they are keeping it in the news. Unless there are more revelations, Weinergate should fade away. Whether Weiner stays or goes, Democratic leaders need to stop talking about it.
Anthony Weiner’s behavior was an embarrassment and a disgrace, but Democrats may have to live with the reality that unless Weiner broke the law, violated House rules, or decides to resign on his own there is nothing they can do to get him out.
Whether Democrats like it or not, it may be up to the voters of his district to liberate them from the presence of Anthony Weiner.