It’s been nearly a year since former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) resigned in disgrace following a scandal on Twitter, and although his actions weren’t criminal, incredibly, the virtual crime scene is still up online for all eyes to see.
For reasons unknown, the sexting ex-congressman still has his verified Twitter account, @RepWeiner, up and running on the micro-blogging site.
Even though Weiner hasn’t posted a single tweet since June 1, 2011 — just days after he had claimed a hacker was responsible for the lewd photo that appeared on his Twitter feed — the account still has more than 70,000 followers.
The seven-term lawmaker resigned two weeks after writing one of his final messages on the website, in which he stood by the accusation that a high-tech trespasser was to blame: “Wow, so many followers now. #IsThereTrollRemovalSoftware?”
The married House member admitted at a news conference that he had sent revealing photos and messages to multiple women on Twitter.
One former Weiner insider described as “very strange” the fact that the Twitter account is still active.
But Jenny Backus, a Democratic strategist, likens the situation to a car wreck — just because a driver gets in an accident doesn’t mean he’ll never get behind the wheel again: “What was done on Twitter was what the problem was. It wasn’t the actual mechanism. When and if he’s ready to start communicating with people again, if that’s what he chooses to do, he should probably have all avenues of communication available to him.”
While Galen, who served as communications director for then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), says he’s no psychologist, he opines, “I think that’s probably part of the pathology that got him into trouble in the first place. Either he forgot to do it, which is hard to believe, or, you know, it’s just a connection to kind of an interesting moment in his life and he can’t bring himself to shut it off.”
Another question is whether the once-promising politician, who now has a 3-month-old son with wife Huma Abedin, is holding onto the Twitter handle in the hopes of one day either returning to the site or to life in the public eye.
The Daily Mail reported earlier this month that Andrew Breitbart, the late conservative commentator who broke the story of the X-rated Twitter messages, had told friends that he was in early talks with CNN for a “Crossfire”-style show opposite Weiner. The cable news network denied the story.
Backus, who served as the Health and Human Services assistant secretary for public affairs under President Obama, says of Weiner, “I think he should take all the time he needs to take that’s good for him and good for his family. ... We’re a society that likes and appreciates redemption, as long as we think it’s honest redemption.”
Even Galen admits Weiner might have a shot at public service again: “If he wants to get back into politics, people do that all the time. … Who knows, he might get elected. His constituents liked him.”
Risa Heller, speaking on behalf of Weiner, declined to comment for this story.
This story was updated at 8:20 a.m.