Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), the newly-crowned chair of the DNC, explained to a Washington audience Wednesday why she’s called for embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) to resign after he lied about sex while Bill Clinton and other politicians have been allowed to keep their jobs for doing the same thing.
The answer, Wasserman Schultz said, comes down to effectiveness.The questioner was Politico‘s Mike Allen who hosted Wasserman Schultz this morning at a breakfast event at the Newseum in Washington. Allen pointed out that “under the Weiner standard” (a phrase that sent his audience of political observers and reporters into a fit of giggles), Clinton should have left office once details of his lies about an affair with an intern were revealed in 1998.
Many Democrats rallied around Clinton during that scandal. This time around, Wasserman Schultz, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the chair of the DCCC have all called on Weiner to resign immediately.
“Has there been maybe an unrealistic too harsh standard applied in this case?” Allen asked.
“I don’t think so,” Wasserman Schultz said, before laying out her case that the Weiner scandal’s ability to effectively drown out anything else in Congress for the past couple weeks is reason enough for Weiner to leave.
I think that particularly because there was an effort to not tell the truth, I think that because he has engaged in some what I think is some very inappropriate conduct that has distracted his ability to do his job and distracted from almost all of our ability to do our jobs and make sure that we can effectively serve our constituents, I think that the best conclusion is that he should focus on addressing his problems and resign from the House.
Asked if she expects Weiner to step down, Wasserman Schultz said, “I don’t know ultimately what his decision will be.”
She defended her party’s timeline in the Weiner case, which saw most Democrats wait several days after Weiner’s lies were exposed before calling for his resignation.
“When it was revealed that he wasn’t telling the truth, initially I felt like I wanted to hang back and give him the opportunity to reach his own conclusion, make his own decision with his family,” she said. “When we got to the end of one week — that’s what expired, one week — and he had not reached that conclusion, I felt it was important to publicly state what I thought his decision should be.”