The married New York Democrat announced his decision to step down on Thursday, saying the “distraction” he had created had made it impossible to continue his work in Congress.
He apologized for what he called “personal mistakes” and for the embarrassment he caused.
Earlier Thursday, the speaker of the House, Republican John Boehner, called the Weiner issue an “unnecessary” distraction and said the American people want Congress to focus on creating jobs. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she would not talk about Weiner before his announcement.
Weiner has admitted to exchanging explicit photographs and messages with six women during the past three years.
His indiscretions became public late last month when a lewd photo sent to a female college student showed up on his Twitter feed.
Weiner initially claimed his account had been hacked. But more than a week later, the 46-year-old congressman acknowledged the photo was his and that he had sent it.
U.S. President Barack Obama had called the congressman’s behavior “highly inappropriate” and suggested he resign from Congress.
Weiner’s wife of nearly one year, Huma Abedin, is a long-time aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Last week, The New York Times reported that Abedin is pregnant with the couple’s first child. Abedin did not join Weiner at his news conference Thursday, but he said she has stood with him throughout the “entire difficult period.”
Weiner said he never met any of the women he corresponded with online and by phone and that he was not sure of their ages. One woman who has spoken out about her online relationship with Weiner is a former porn star. The congressman also corresponded with a 17-year-old girl, but local authorities found nothing inappropriate in those exchanges.
Pelosi had also called for an ethics investigation to determine whether Weiner used any official resources in his communications or if any other violation of House rules occurred. Pelosi had said Weiner needs help and should get some “without the pressures of being a member of Congress.”
Weiner says he did not break the law.