The disgraceful return of a disgraced congressman
Anthony Weiner, whose sordid sex scandal disgraced his office as a New York congressman, will now be foisting himself upon the public as a reinvented radio personality.
Anthony Weiner’s message is clear: Don’t call it a comeback.
Well, don’t worry, I won’t. But if it’s quite alright with the man formerly known as “Carlos Danger,” I will call it gross. Disturbing. Pathetic. Revolting.
How else to describe the unwelcome news that the former Democratic congressman who disgraced his office, his family, his political party and the City of New York with a lurid — indeed criminal — sex scandal is now co-hosting a new radio show with ex-mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa on WABC-AM radio?
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Addressing what he referred to as the “elephant in the room,” he assured, “No, this isn’t some kind of a comeback…a radio show about New York is sometimes just a radio show about New York.”
I suppose it’s some consolation to know Weiner won’t be asking New Yorkers for their vote anytime soon, or embarrassing them with another scandal-ridden run for office, but it’s little relief to know he’ll still be foisting himself upon them as a reinvented radio personality.
If you buried the memory of Weiner’s sordid transgressions in the deepest recesses of your brain — and who could blame you? — I’ll unhappily refresh.
Weiner had been representing a New York City district in the U.S. House for nearly 12 years when in 2011 he used his public Twitter account to send a link of an explicit photo — an erect penis inside gray briefs — to a woman who followed him on the social media platform.
Weiner spent days indignantly denying the photo was of him or sent by him, blaming the media, claiming he must have been hacked, and even joking that his kitchen blender might be the next machine to “attack” him.
Then, he admitted the image was his and that he’d exchanged similar messages and photos with about six women over three years. As photos kept surfacing, mounting pressure from Democrats led him to finally resign with a brief statement to the press.
That was all bad enough for Democrats to weather — not to mention the humiliation it brought to his wife, longtime aide to Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin.
With the saga sorted, New Yorkers breathed a collective sigh of relief and thought he was done. However, Weiner the consummate narcissist just couldn’t help himself.
In 2013 he was back, looking for redemption, running for mayor, Abedin by his side. In the midst of that campaign, it surfaced that he’d been texting inappropriately with a new woman, 23-year-old Sydney Leathers. He once again apologized to his humiliated wife and voters. On primary day, finishing with just 5% of the vote, he conceded, but not without flipping off a reporter.
Completely fitting his sociopathic ego, all of this indignity happened on camera, thanks to the documentary film crew Weiner had allowed to follow his ill-fated campaign.
Lest you think our awful tale ends here, Weiner wasn’t done.
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In 2016, new photos and text messages, including racy language and one half-naked pic cradling his newborn son (pause to vomit) popped up, finally leading Abedin to announce she was separating from Weiner.
But the final, revolting blow was yet to come. Less than a month later, reports that he’d sexted with a 15-year-old girl surfaced. In 2017, Weiner surrendered to the FBI and pleaded guilty to one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison with three years supervised probation, and has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
So, the obvious question is: In what twisted, upside-down, bizarro and unjust universe would a terrible person and convicted predator like Anthony Weiner be given a public platform to lecture New Yorkers about anything? Apparently, John Catsimatidis’ universe. The grocery store mogul and conservative donor bought WABC-AM in 2019. One of his first new talent hires was disgraced Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly, the guy who, along with Fox News, paid five women approximately $13 million to settle various sexual misconduct lawsuits.
For Catsimatidis — who also hosts his own show — folks like Weiner and O’Reilly are exactly who New Yorkers deserve to hear from on his radio network.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. It seems like it’s just the American way. Misogynists and sexists, abusers and harassers will eventually find protection and comfort somewhere. Bill Clinton, accused by multiple women of harassment and by one of rape, is still beloved in the Democratic Party. Donald Trump, accused by multiple women of harassment and assault, is a cult leader of the Republican Party.
Several #MeToo violators have attempted comebacks to varying degrees of success. Others are looking to.
So, why wouldn’t a convicted sex offender who embarrassed his party and ruined his family get a radio show?
But don’t feel bad for Abedin or Weiner’s teenage victim, because remember, Weiner insists it’s not a comeback. Just “a radio show with a friend of mine.” How nice for him.
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S.E. Cupp is the host of “S.E. Cupp Unfiltered” on CNN.