Majority Leader Eric Cantor escalated the GOP’s war of words over Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY) online indiscretions on Monday, calling on Democrats to remove him of his committee assignments if they can’t push him out of office.
“I called on him to resign early, because I think that this kind of behavior is unacceptable, the way that his leaders now have called on him to resign.” Cantor said at a pen and pad briefing. “I’m hoping that they will begin to move, if he does not resign, toward perhaps stripping him of his committees.”
Cantor was among the first Republicans to wade into the Weiner scandal, which other members of his party largely avoided until after the New York Democrat confessed to lying about a lewd photo he sent to a Seattle college student.
As Cantor referenced in his remarks, top Democrats have already made abundantly clear that it’s time for Weiner to go. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joined with a legion of Democratic officials over the weekend in publicly demanding his resignation, including DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, DCCC chair Steve Israel, and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. Weiner has announced he will take a leave of absence instead to seek professional treatment, a move that Pelosi has made clear falls short of her call for him to step down.
“I think he should resign, I think his leaders should do everything they can to bring him to that point if he’s not already,” Cantor said on Monday.
Update: A senior Democratic aide e-mails TPM: “The bottom line is that Rep. Weiner should resign and the GOP is engaged in a pathetic attempt to grab headlines in order to distract from their no jobs agenda. It’s been 160 days since the GOP took control of the House, and Americans are still asking: Where are the jobs, House Republicans?”