Huma Abedin, the wife of the former Rep. Anthony D. Weiner, announced Monday that the couple were separating in the wake of a report that Weiner had been involved in another sexting scandal.
Weiner, who resigned in 2011 after it was revealed he had been sending lewd messages and photos to random women online, apparently deleted his Twitter account Monday after The New York Post reported that he had exchanged sexual messages with an unidentified woman last year.
The initial scandal destroyed his political career and strained his marriage to Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton.
On Monday, Abedin said in a statement: “After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband. Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life. During this difficult time, I ask for respect for our privacy.”
But Abedin’s separation quickly became political fodder for Donald Trump, Clinton’s Republican opponent.
“Huma is making a very wise decision. I know Anthony Weiner well, and she will be far better off without him,” Trump said in a statement.
“I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information,” he continued. “Who knows what he learned and who he told? It’s just another example of Hillary Clinton’s bad judgment. It is possible that our country and its security have been greatly compromised by this.”
Abedin has been by Clinton’s side for two decades, first as an intern in the first lady’s office in the 1990s and then as a top aide as Clinton began her own political career as a U.S. senator from New York. Abedin is one of only a handful of advisers who have served on both of Clinton’s presidential campaigns — a mark of loyalty and trust.
Clinton strongly supported Abedin when Weiner’s sexually charged text messages first came to light in 2011, a year into their marriage, and again in 2013 when Weiner was running for mayor of New York.
Friends of Clinton said that she spoke to Abedin at length about the marriage and her best interests during that time and supported Abedin’s decision to remain with Weiner and work on their marriage.
After The Post published its article Sunday night revealing Weiner’s latest messages, several allies of Clinton said they contacted campaign advisers to express their frustration and anger with Weiner and to ask if the campaign or Abedin would be responding to the article or taking any action. Two of these allies said they were told that some kind of statement would be coming and urged them to respect Abedin’s privacy.
Weiner did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.
In the August issue of Vogue, Abedin talks about balancing motherhood and a strenuous campaign job.
“I don’t think I could do it if I didn’t have the support system I have, if Anthony wasn’t willing to be, essentially, a full-time dad,” she told the magazine.
Q: When did the latest sexting occur?
A: The woman told The Post that the online chats started in January 2015 and that they continued through this month.
Q: What do the messages show?
A:Screen shots published by The Post showed that the two exchanged photos — of the woman in various bikinis and of Weiner half-dressed, showing off his stomach or his crotch — and that they talked about sex.
In one message, Weiner abruptly changed the discussion from massage parlors and allegedly wrote, “Someone just climbed into my bed.”
“Really?” the woman said.
Weiner’s response, in a screen shot dated July 31, 2015, showed a child curled up next to Weiner, who was wearing white shorts, according to the article. Weiner and Abedin have a toddler son.
Q: Who is the other woman?
A: The Post did not identify the woman but described her as a “self-avowed supporter of Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association who’s used Twitter to bash both President Obama and Clinton.”
Weiner, asked by The Post for comment, “admitted he and the woman ‘have been friends for some time,’” according to the article.
“She has asked me not to comment except to say that our conversations were private, often included pictures of her nieces and nephews and my son and were always appropriate,” Weiner was quoted as saying.
Weiner could not immediately be reached for comment Monday morning.
Q: Why is this notable?
A: When Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011, he publicly apologized and vowed to change his behavior, but he denied having an addiction. But in 2013, his attempt at a political comeback as a New York mayoral candidate was derailed when it was revealed he had again been exchanging messages online with at least three more women under the nom de guerre Carlos Danger.
A documentary, “Weiner,” released in May, traced the disastrous campaign and the effects on Abedin, who is shown near tears after the revelations were publicly revealed.
Weiner’s ties to the Clinton campaign make his messages a useful weapon by the Trump camp in the bruising race to the White House. The first debate between Clinton and Trump is set for Sept. 26.
— In his own words:
In an interview with The New York Times in July, when asked whether he was still engaging in the activities that got him into trouble, Weiner said: “I’m not going to go down the path of talking about any of that.
“But I will say this: There’s no doubt that the Trump phenomenon has led a lot of people to say to me, ‘Boy, compared to inviting the Russians to come hack someone’s email, your thing seems almost quaint.’”
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