Political observers have often remarked that if Anthony Weiner had simply come clean about his post-resignation sexting relapse in his initial tell-all interview with The New York Times Magazine, he would have fared far better in this year’s mayoral race.
And in an interview with GQ magazine published today, Mr. Weiner agreed, blaming the Times Magazine writer, Jonathan Van Meter, for not being “tough enough” on him.
“The problem was that the story was completely different from what we thought would be written,” Mr. Weiner was quoted as saying. “I thought there’d be thousands of questions about the sexting. But there wasn’t a lot of conversation about that. We had a guy [Van Meter] who wasn’t tough enough. We needed someone to just tear away at me. And not someone who would do something sympathetic.”
Of course, as Mr. Van Meter notes, Mr. Weiner was familiar with the writer’s work and chose him to pen the profile–not the other way around. And the very idea that Mr. Weiner–who resigned from Congress in disgrace and almost destroyed his marriage with his first round of sexting–would continue the behavior after fessing up was incomprehensible to many, including Mr. Van Meter.
Furthermore, according to Mr. Van Meter, Mr. Weiner specifically did not want to share the full details of the scandal even though his wife, Huma Abedin, had urged him to. “He did not want to tell the story—because, as someone said, he did not want his parents to know!” Mr. Van Meter told GQ.
“He is the least reliable narrator of his own story that I have ever encountered. And I’ve interviewed people in prison, who have chopped people up—prisoners who are charming and funny and smart. And well dressed,” he also quipped.
And Mr. Weiner had other opportunities to bring up his relapse after his 8,000-word Van Meter profile. For example, in an early interview with NY1’s Errol Louis, Mr. Weiner was asked directly how many young women he had been involved with and gave what in retrospect was a direct dodge: “I’ve been asked this question before and I said six.”
Mr. Louis replied, “So six is the number. That number’s not going to change.”
Mr. Weiner did not correct him.
Later he would admit the true number–including the women after his resignation–was closer to ten.