At a press conference at the same Brooklyn senior center where he launched his political career, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner announced his resignation from the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon.
At the press conference, which was as strange as the story that has developed before it, Weiner said he was proud of both his service and his time in office, and thanked his constituents, who cheered him when he entered the room.
“It is particularly humbling to represent this district, because the communities and families of this district are hardworking, they’re patriotic, they're opinionated, they are authentic,” Weiner said. “I have never forgotten my neighbors, because they represent the same middle class story as mine.”
With that, Weiner launched into the purpose of his afternoon press conference, announcing his resignation to a chorus of disappointed wails from a group of constituents.
“I had hoped to be able to continue the work that the citizens of my district elected me to do,” Weiner said. “To fight for the middle class and those struggling to make it. Unfortunately the distraction that I have created has made that impossible.”
Weiner’s speech was interrupted three times by a heckler who shouted lewd questions and was eventually removed by police.
The unusual atmostphere is part of what concerns local Democratic Party members, many of whom have been quick to distance themselves from the Congressman.
"Everyone is a little bit shaken, they just want to get this behind them," said political consultant George Arzt. "They have become a national joke... the party needs to go through a healing process."
At times, despite the interruptions and the carnival-like atmosphere that had surrounded the proceedings — including hundreds of journalists packed into a small multi-use room in the center — the Congressman looked as if a weight had been lifted.
Additional reporting by Paul Leonard.