Anthony Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, was aware of her husband’s most recent indiscretions months before he decided to run for New York City mayor, her friends have revealed.
When 23-year-old Sydney Leathers released messages on Tuesday that showed Anthony Weiner continued his inappropriate online relationships well beyond his 2011 resignation from Congress, all eyes were turned to Huma Abedin to see if she knew.
Huma Abedin stood by her man – though looking nervous and uncomfortable while doing so – and declared that she was aware of his behavior and they decided a mayoral run was right for the family.
Her friends have now spoken out saying that she was devastated when she originally learned about his relapse but she has had months to come to terms with the news.
“When she found out, she was furious. She was furious, and she thought long and hard about leaving, and ultimately decided what was best for her and her son and her family was to continue to try to work through it,” unidentified friends told The Wall Street Journal.
They added that it was her decision to attend and speak at the press conference on Tuesday, and Huma Abedin did not make that choice under any pressure from her husband or his campaign.
Huma Abedin has taken a number of tactical steps during the campaign, as she made a conscious choice to speak to People Magazine alongside Anthony Weiner and their son Jordan in June 2012.
She also has been on the campaign trail with Anthony Weiner, appearing in his official launch video and attending events at his side.
An essay Huma Abedin wrote about their difficult journey over the past two years is scheduled to appear in next month’s issue of Harper’s Bazaar, timed so that the publication coincides with the Democratic primary on September 10.
Huma Abedin herself marked the biggest difference between Anthony Weiner’s two devastating press conferences – the first when he resigned in 2011 following the accidental release of a photo on his Twitter account, and then the press conference on Tuesday.
In 2011, a then-pregnant Huma Abedin was lauded for choosing not to stand next to her disgraced, weepy husband though he said that they decided to work on their marriage.
But now, following her press conference debut, immediate comparisons were drawn between she and Silda Spitzer, who served as the inspiration for CBS’s hit show The Good Wife following her decision to stand next to the former Governor when he admitted to using prostitutes.
“She’s not the <<good wife>>. If she had found out yesterday she wouldn’t have been standing there,” her friends told the Wall Street Journal.
“She knew it was going to be a long and tough time, and she knew he hadn’t hit rock bottom.”
In her statement on Tuesday, Huma Abedin was clear to mention that they have gone through “a whole lot of therapy” to get to the point where they are now, and other friends believe she sees his relapse as part of the healing process.
“She’s not fine and she’s not in good spirits. No one‘s fine when they go through this. But the emotional part of this was last fall,” and unidentified confidante told The New York Daily News.
“I assume [she stayed] because he was trying to beat this, and knew that’s part of the process.”
Aside from her appearance at Tuesday’s press conference, Huma Abedin has reverted to her low-profile ways, holing up in the couple’s Manhattan apartment on Wednesday with a brief escape when she went into an awaiting car.
No official statements or plans have been released but insiders expect Huma Abedin will keep a lower profile moving forward in the campaign.
Huma Abedin’s decision to stay with Anthony Weiner after the first revelations in 2011 was largely accepted by the public, under the assumption that he stopped communicating other woman and focusing on their marriage.
“I tell my friends things that Anthony does and they’re always like, <<Really? He does that?! My husband doesn’t do that>>. I mean, I have not washed a single piece of clothing ever. Anthony does all our laundry. I have not been to our dry cleaner. He does that. He makes my tea when I get up in the morning. He’s just a loving, caring, thoughtful spouse and partner,” she told People in late June 2012.
Now his messages with Sydney Leather prove that he struck up a new virtual romance less than two weeks later.
“I have no way of knowing whether Huma, for whom I have great respect, is responding out of new motherhood, the Stockholm syndrome or a mystery,” women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem told The New York Times.
A number of commentators have linked her behavior – or her “Post Scandal Playbook” – come straight from the pages of her mentor and longtime boss Hillary Clinton. Huma Abedin is the former Secretary of States’ top aide and has worked with her since 1996 when she was First Lady.
Though the Clintons have said from the beginning of the mayoral race that they will not be endorsing any candidate – citing their close ties to many from when Hillary Clinton was the Senator of New York – Huma Abedin has used her connections to help bring in big money donors for her husband.
“Her loyalty is to Hillary Clinton and her role model is Hillary Clinton. Doormats. Doormats with the promise of a payoff later down the road,” conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said.
The criticism is not only coming from the right, though the Democrats are tending to focus on Anthony Weiner rather than Huma Abedin.
Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who was one of the most vocal voices calling for Anthony Weiner’s resignation in 2011, today told NBC’s Luke Russert that his recent conduct is “reprehensible, disrespectful of women”.
Congressman Charles Rangel, who has been the Democratic representative for Harlem for over 40 years, echoed those sentiments on MSNBC Wednesday morning.
“Nobody that I know understands at all what Anthony Weiner was thinking about. And right now, I think you would agree that we all are concerned about his wife. She’s a brave lady,” Congressman Rangel told MSNBC on Wednesday.
“I have seen a lot of things like this in politics where males have to lean on their wives for support, but I don’t ever recall seeing a wife looking and feeling so sad and embarrassed, because Huma is a very private person, a very delicate, sophisticated person. And all the years that I’ve known her, putting her into this political situation, as bright and as intelligent as she is, is very awkward.”