Stuart Warner: How One Little Prick Screwed America

Who is to blame for the predicament America finds itself in now? This guy.
Who is to blame for the predicament America finds itself in now? This guy. IFC Films
What a prick.

And I’m not talking about Donald Trump.

I’m referring to the man who is most responsible for putting Trump in the White House. That would be the former congressman and New York City mayoral candidate who brings out the eighth-grade boy in headline writers and columnists everywhere.

Anthony Weiner.

Chew on that for a minute.

Friday, Weiner pleaded guilty to sexting with a minor. Indeed, he’s a serial sexter. And the consequences extended far beyond his family and his victims.

If Weiner had kept his penis pictures locked in his iPhone, the country wouldn’t be where it is today — waiting for fired FBI Director James Comey to testify about memos and his meeting with the President of the United States.

No Weiner. No Comey. No Russian investigation.

And no tweets at dawn from No. 45.

I don’t blame any of this on Trump. He warned you who he was from the moment he descended on that escalator at Trump Tower and announced that Mexico was sending us its “rapists.” (“Some, I assume, are good people,” he added.)

Did you really expect he’d be somebody different?

But Weiner sticks in my craw.

He’s the most unfortunately named politician since Richard Head was a member of the British Parliament in the 17th century.

Six years ago, Weiner was primarily known as a fiery liberal congressman from Brooklyn who also was Daily Show host Jon Stewart’s college pal.

Then on May 27, 2011, the first of Weiner’s crotch potato photos hit the internet.

He first told CNN that he did not post the picture of his tighty-whities, that his Twitter account was hacked. He didn’t explain his need to take such a picture in the first place, but I’m an old guy and I don’t totally understand the social media habits of today’s younger generations.

Maybe he was priming the pump. Ha! I just invented that phrase.

On June 6 of that year, Weiner admitted that, well, yes he had shared his prick pics with several women. “I am deeply regretting what I have done and I am not resigning,” he said.

On June 11, he resigned from Congress.

As you can imagine, that inspired numerous juvenile headlines from the New York media.

“Weiner’s Rise and Fall” – New York Post

“He couldn’t keep it up” – NYC Metro

Okay, it’s a thankless job. Journalists have to have some fun.

Of course, that should have been the end of Anthony Weiner’s political career.

It was. For two years.

Then he decided to run for mayor of New York City. (Post headline: "Weiner's Second Coming." )

Get outta here!

They even made a documentary about it. Weiner.

“It’s hard,” he says, explaining his comeback, not his photos, as he looks into the camera. “I think it’s the same constitutional … the same constitution that I have that made me do the dumb thing … made it possible to weather the stuff without it gutting me.”

In fact, he was leading the mayoral race at the polls … until … yes, more sexting photos dribbled out.

Weiner refused to withdraw, but he was beaten soundly.

Now, none of this should matter, except that he is married, at least until the divorce is final, to Huma Abedin. Abedin was also Hillary Clinton’s top aide during the 2016 presidential campaign.

It’s easy to say now that Abedin should have cut off Weiner a long time ago. And maybe Hillary should have done the same with Huma. But Abedin had a son with Weiner. And Clinton, well, she has some history with these kind of things. Certainly she would be sympathetic dealing with a problem marriage partner.

Noting that the Clintons were upset about the comparisons of their relationship to Weiner’s situation, comedian Jay Leno said they should be.

“Bill Clinton took his sexual conduct seriously,” Leno said. “Anthony Weiner just phones it in.”

Still, in October 2016, when it seemed Weiner was safely hidden from view, Clinton had a 12-point lead over Trump, according to the Washington Post-ABC poll.

Enter James Comey, the 6-foot-8 lawman who threw a lot of shade at Clinton.

On October 28, 11 days before Election Day, Comey informed Congress that classified e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s personal server had been forwarded from Abedin’s computer to Weiner’s laptop.

How did the FBI discover this? Agents were investigating Weiner’s sexting habits. He was still at it.

Trump, of course, weighed in.

“I don’t like Huma going home at night and telling Anthony Weiner all these secrets,” he said.

Pot, meet kettle.

Only a few days later, the Washington Post-ABC poll showed that Clinton’s lead had shrunk to a single percentage point.

Never mind that Comey climbed on his high horse again two days before the election and announced that there was nothing to see here, folks. The FBI had examined Weiner’s computer and found nothing on it, at last nothing classified. (I hope they cleaned it for him.)

But by then, the damage  had been done. You know the rest of the story: A yuuuge inauguration crowd for President Donald Trump despite the millions of illegal votes cast against him.

You'd think Weiner at least have been invited to one of the inaugural balls.

Instead, six months later, he was headed to prison, which should be the subject of endless soap-on-a-rope jokes.

And what thanks did Comey get for his role in making America great again?

Trump told the Russians that the ex-director was a “nut job.”

Wrong, Mr. President.

That designation belongs to Anthony Weiner.

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Stuart Warner is editor of New Times. He has been a journalist since the stoned ages of 1969, playing a major role on teams that won three Pulitzer Prizes. He is also the author of the biography JOCK: A Coach's Story.
Contact: Stuart Warner