Huma Abedin has announced her plans to divorce Anthony Weiner, and Republican Donald Trump is already seizing on the scandal to make a political attack against Hillary Clinton.
Within minutes of Abedin’s announcement of plans to divorce Weiner, Trump issued a statement saying the incident shows poor judgement on Clinton’s part in making Abedin her top aide.
“Huma is making a very wise decision. I know Anthony Weiner well, and she will be far better off without him,” Mr. Trump said in a statement (via the New York Times).
“I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information,” he continued. “Who knows what he learned and who he told? It’s just another example of Hillary Clinton’s bad judgment. It is possible that our country and its security have been greatly compromised by this.”
The divorce announcement was made after Weiner was caught sending explicit messages to a woman he met online, with the New York Post sharing details of the messages in a report published on Sunday. The former Congressman allegedly texted the woman over a long period, including while he was in bed with his wife and another time with his young son in the background.
As the report noted, Anthony Weiner told the woman that “someone just climbed into my bed” before sending a picture of his son curled up beside him. Anthony wore just a tight pair of white boxer briefs in the photo he then shared.
Huma Abedin wasted little time after the release of the photos in announcing the divorce.
“After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband. Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life. During this difficult time, I ask for respect for our privacy,” Abedin said in a statement released today (via ABC News).
The story was now the third time that Weiner was caught in a sexting scandal, with the first one sinking his Congressional career and a subsequent scandal ending his attempt at a political comeback by running for mayor of New York City.
Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner were married in 2010, with Bill Clinton officiating the wedding.
Many pundits had encouraged Huma Abedin to divorce Anthony Weiner after the first and second scandals, but she remained by his side. Abedin herself has become a national figure during Hillary Clinton’s campaign, as she plays a major coordinating role in the Democratic candidate’s campaign. The fallout could now affect Clinton, or at the least cause a major distraction during a campaign in which Clinton has tried to lay low through a series of controversies.
Congrats to everyone with bets on how long it'd take for Trump to weigh in on Weiner https://t.co/nvbdkXuV11— Patrick Svitek (@PatrickSvitek) August 29, 2016
There is concern that the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal and Huma Abedin’s divorce announcement may come at a particularly difficult time for Clinton, who had taken a sizeable lead over Donald Trump in the polls following the Democratic National Convention but has since seen the race tighten.
While insiders noted that Clinton was adopting a strategy of “running out the clock” by deciding not to directly address her scandals and rely on Donald Trump’s sinking popularity, an analysis from FiveThirtyEight noted that the race may still be too close for Clinton to ignore all scandals.
And while Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal and Huma Abedin’s divorce announcement is not directly related to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, that has not stopped the Trump campaign and his surrogates from pushing other issues only tangentially related to the campaign. So far, neither Abedin nor Clinton has responded to Trump’s attack related to the divorce announcement.
[Photo by Kathy Willens/AP Images]