Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) knows all about handling pressure to resign after living through a lengthy ethics investigation into his finances ending in an ultra-rare censure vote last year. And his advice to embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) is clear: don’t back down.
“Not one person has given any reason for a resignation,” Rangel told PolitickerNY on Friday. He said that Weiner’s indiscretions were far less serious than past political sex scandals and that the Queens lawmaker could still do his job well if “the press gets his back.”
“He wasn’t going with prostitutes. He wasn’t going out with little boys. He wasn’t going into men’s room with broad stances,” Rangel said. “I mean, All of those I understand; I’m 80 years old. But high-tech stuff like this, I can’t respond. But I know immoral sex when I hear it from other members, and no one has screamed for their resignation. So I don’t know why they’re selecting Anthony.”
Rangel is among the most prominent New York politicians to defend him so far. A number of Democrats in the House have demanded Weiner’s resignation, but all indications so far point to the Congressman sticking around whether his party likes it or not.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.