Feature

Weiner: Why is Huma still defending him?

As Anthony Weiner insisted he would stay in the mayoral race, Huma Abedin loyally stood at his side.

Why in the world is Huma Abedin standing by her man? said Maureen Dowd in The New York Times. It’s the one question everyone is asking since New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner recently admitted that he continued sexting women for more than a year after he had to resign from Congress for that very same behavior. As the “eel-like” Weiner insisted he would stay in the mayoral race, a stricken Abedin loyally stood at his side, unsuccessfully trying to disguise her agony. “I have forgiven him,” Huma said. “I believe in him.” In private, her friends say they’re “slapping-my-forehead” astounded that she’s debasing herself in this way. Abedin has great professional credentials of her own, having served for years as a high-powered aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—who also stood by an unfaithful hubby. How can “a gorgeous, bright, successful woman” allow herself “to be treated like a doormat?” said Jennifer C. Braceras in the Boston Herald. My advice to Huma: “Dump the perv.”

What Abedin does is “none of your damn business,” said Lauren Rankin in Salon.com. Portraying a woman as a victim because she chooses to stay with an unfaithful husband is not just profoundly anti-feminist, but “destructive, as it denies women’s autonomy.” This is real life, not “a 1980s Dolly Parton movie,” said Hanna Rosin in Slate.com. Real life and real marriages are complicated. Weiner clearly is struggling with a psychological compulsion, and Abedin says she still loves the man, and is willing to work on their relationship for the sake of their very young child. “Who can argue with that?”

Abedin can stand by Weiner if she wants, said Ruth Marcus in The Washington Post.But this scandal isn’t just about the Weiner-Abedin marriage—it’s about whether he’s fit to govern America’s largest city. “Abedin’s acceptance is hers to bestow, but she cannot force it on us.” We can only conclude that Abedin is wedded to the dream of power as much as she is to her husband, said Sally Quinn, also in the Post. As Clinton’s aide, “she has seen the limos, the planes, the salutes, and the flags, and this is the life she aspires to.” She thought she’d get it when she married Weiner when he was a wildly ambitious congressman. Sadly, she was wrong—and even sadder still, she hasn’t accepted it.

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