The New York Post reported this weekend that Anthony Weiner has been caught in yet another flirtatious online exchange with a stranger. This time, the former congressman was busted chatting with someone who claimed to be “Nikki,” a female college student in Los Angeles. The Twitter chat, of which the Post published screenshots, was heavily flirtatious but stopped short of being explicitly sexual. When Nikki referenced having “staff” to call her an Uber, Weiner replied, “I’m pretty sure there is a ‘my staff’ joke here.” He sent her a gif of himself on the floor on Congress, joked about Trump and Putin, and called himself “deceptively strong ... like a mongoose.”
Mongooses are apparently no match for catfish. Unfortunately for Weiner, his sexy California co-ed was actually a young Republican man in New York. He told the Post he used a female friend’s Twitter account, and that all he did was retweet Weiner once with an added comment. Weiner responded within 20 minutes. Soon, Weiner was telling this online rando that high heels are his thing and hinting they should meet up at the beach. They also bantered about a “porn setup” involving Weiner answering the door of his hotel wearing only a towel. “The amount of effort this took was the most alarming thing given his history,” the guy told the Post.
Weiner deserved partial credit for ‘fessing up immediately when the Post contacted him about the chat. “I can confirm that I am indeed deceptively strong like a mongoose,” he emailed the paper, claiming it was a “playful joust with an obvious catfish.” Apparently Weiner expects us to believe that he knew all along that he was writing to a person who could be anyone—vindictive, unattractive, publicity-hungry, or all of the above. He chatted with this person about strappy high heels anyway, and told “her” she was making him “uh, imagine stuff.” Déjà ew.
Can there possibly be any lessons here for Weiner that he has not had the chance to learn already? He resigned from Congress in the wake of his first sexting scandal in 2011. The second one arguably cost him the election for New York City mayor. From the outside, the only thing he has left to lose is his dignity. He doesn’t seem terribly attached to that right now.
It’s hard to know what the public is supposed to make of Anthony Weiner in August of 2016. The recent critically acclaimed documentary Weiner portrayed him as more than a pathetic historical footnote, and it was possible even a few months ago to find one’s feelings toward the disgraced but talented Democrat softening. We have no evidence that he has ever had a physical relationship with anyone other than his wife, after all. He doesn’t hold public office, which means it’s not our business anyway—if it ever was.
Indeed, Weiner’s marriage to Clinton aide Huma Abedin is apparently still working, more than three years after he sobbed to a New York Times reporter that “she’s given me another chance. And I am very grateful for that. And I’m trying to make sure I get it right.” Perhaps he now has permission from her to flirt online, or perhaps he always did. Perhaps she is simply as patient as she is beautiful and accomplished. If that’s true, Weiner is so lucky he should head straight to Vegas. Regardless, his blithe response to his latest exposure suggests we, like Abedin, should get used to stories like this.