FLUSHING — Former Rep. Anthony Weiner continued to reject calls for him to exit the mayor’s race on Monday, saying he would let New York City voters make the final decision.
“I’m going to let the citizens of the city of New York decide who's going to be their mayor. I'm not going ask pundits. I'm not going to ask other politicians,” Weiner said shortly after addressing a room of seniors at the Nan Shan Senior Center in Flushing.
His reaffirmed commitment came after a bruising weekend. Late on Saturday, reports surfaced that his campaign manager had quit over Weiner’s latest sexting revelations.
On Sunday, the morning talking shows hosted a full slate of Weiner detractors calling for him to quit. Most notably Dee Dee Myers, a former press secretary to President Bill Clinton, appeared to indicate the former first family wanted Weiner to depart the race.
"This isn't a story that anybody, particularly the Clintons, are happy to see splashed over the front pages and all over the news relentlessly, and I think they as much as anyone would like to see this go away," Myers said, though she later attempted to clarify that she wasn’t speaking on behalf of the Clintons in a formal capacity.
Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, was formerly an aide to Hilary Clinton during her recent tenure as secretary of state under President Barack Obama. Some of his former aides also got into the anti-Weiner pile-on. David Axelrod, a former senior advisor to Obama, who called Weiner’s campaign “absurd” and accused him of “wasting time and space.”
“You know, Americans believe second chances, but not third chances,” Axelrod said.
Weiner dismissed the criticism in the media, as well as the continued focus on his acknowledgement last week that he had carried on online sexual relations with at least three women after he resigned from congress in 2011.
“There are going to be media maelstroms sometimes when you're mayor. There are sometimes things that capture the public imagination. I am going to show, in this campaign, that you can try to make this about something else,” Weiner said. "But this is not about me. This is about what the citizens of this city want. They want to have a conversation about ideas.”
Earlier, Weiner had been greeted politely at the senior home, where his awkward attempt at Mandarin earned him a few laughs before he talked, through an interpreter, about issues facing seniors in the city.
“We have to make it possible for seniors to find affordable housing, and the senior housing that is available can’t have a waiting list of 10 years if it’s going to work,” Weiner said to applause.
Ellen Chen, a former candidate for Assembly in Flushing, served as Weiner’s interpreter. She said she believes Weiner’s sexual exploits matter little to voters in Flushing.
“In our community, some people even feel he shouldn’t have resigned [in 2011],” she said. “It's personal, between him and his wife. He didn't do anything against the law. He didn't call for a prostitute. He didn't have an affair.”