Today’s front-page New York Times story detailing Anthony Weiner’s lack of congressional accomplishments hadn’t been published yet, but last night, Mr. Weiner suddenly found himself defending his record.
It was at a Latino-focused forum and the topic was immigration. And, as he’s done before, the former congressman blamed Republicans for the lack of movement on the issue.
“Unfortunately, every member of the Democratic caucus, you can say, didn’t get much done during the Bush years while I was on immigration committee,” the slender-framed Democrat said, pivoting to a joke. “When I got on that committee, I was six-four, 290 pounds. This is all that is left of me.”
Mr. Weiner, who resigned from Congress seat in 2011 after his infamous Twitter scandal, has often been faulted for showboating more than legislating in Washington. At last night’s forum, a moderator accordingly pressed Mr. Weiner to elaborate on what he achieved while serving on the Subcommittee on Immigration.
But, while he defended his record of advocacy, Mr. Weiner had no concrete accomplishments to highlight.
“I was the only member of the New York City delegation on the immigration subcommittee during a very difficult time when President Bush was in the White House and he was, in a rare moment for a Republican, trying to do that right thing on immigration,” he replied. “One of the things that I found was important– … representing a fairly conservative district where the number one negative letters I always got … said, ‘Slam, the door, slam the door, stop the immigrants from coming in’–I stood up and made the argument then that holds true today: solving the problem of the undocumented is not a very difficult problem.”
Mr. Weiner then offered several solutions, though the panel of Latino moderators appeared unimpressed as he did so.
“One, we do have to secure the border. Two, we have to make sure that we have people who play by the rules, who’re working.” he said. “And then we have to make sure they have a national federal I.D. card that allows them to work so the people who that hire them, they don’t get in trouble.”
He futher compared himself to one of his frequent targets of derision, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in order to make the case for an advocacy-based record.
“I was an advocate,” he said, his voice rising. “I was an advocate in a minority Congress, but now I’m going to be an advocate just as Mayor Bloomberg does on guns, I’m going to do on immigration–if I’m fortunate enough to be mayor.”