Growing Number of Congressional Democrats Want Rep. Anthony Weiner to Resign

By John R Parkinson

Jun 8, 2011 4:27pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller (@SunlenMiller) & John R. Parkinson (@JRPabcDC) report: 

Embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner faced growing pressure to resign Wednesday, with at least eight congressional Democrats calling on the New York congressman to step down from office. 

Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Penn., the top-ranked House Democrat to publically call on Weiner to resign, was joined by Reps. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Niki Tsongas (Mass.), Mike Ross (Ark.), Larry Kissell (N.C.) and Michael Michaud (Maine).

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., became the first Democratic senators to call for Weiner’s resignation. 

“Having the respect of your constituents is fundamental for a Member of Congress,” Schwartz said in a statement. “In light of Anthony Weiner’s offensive behavior online, he should resign.”  

Democratic Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas also said today that it would be a “good thing” if Weiner resigns.

"It would be fine with me if he did,” Pryor said Wednesday. “I mean, ultimately that's up to him and his constituents and his family, but I think at this point it would probably be a good thing if he would go ahead and resign."

The Senator’s comments came during an weekly conference call with Arkansas reporters and marks the first Democrat from the Senate to call for his resignation. 

Schwartz, a four-term congresswoman heavily involved in the recruitment and reelection of candidates for the Democratic Campaign Committee, initially made the statement in an interview with Politico. Her call for Weiner’s resignation was confirmed by her chief of staff in an email to ABC. 

Schwartz, who heads up recruitment for the DCCC, also recently added candidate services to her portfolio after Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was named to chair the Democratic National Committee.

While the trickle of calls for Weiner's resignation is starting to open up, top House Democratic leaders are not commenting or have only backed up Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s request for an ethics investigation.

By not calling for Weiner’s resignation, a top GOP aide says the Democrats’ top leaders are feeding into the media frenzy. 

“It’s a test for Pelosi, Israel, and Wasserman Schultz – and they’re failing,” a senior House Republican aide told ABC. “They’re allowing this situation to fester – despite Weiner’s indefensible conduct.” 

A senior Democratic aide pushed back on the notion that Democratic leaders have not been forceful enough calling for Weiner's resignation, but admitted that “certainly, the pressure for him to resign is growing quickly.”

"Pelosi has gone farther than she has with other Democrats," the source said, noting the leader's official complaint to the House Ethics Committee. "This has not hurt Democrats yet, but if there's even a whiff of any long-term impact on any Democrats, he will face widespread calls in the Caucus for his immediate resignation. The new photo will likely open the floodgates on other Dems calling on him to resign."

Schwartz is the second House Democrat to call for Weiner's resignation, joining Rep. Michael Michaud, D-Maine, who told the Portland Press Herald that his Democratic colleague should resign.

"I am hoping that the congressman will do what's right for his family, and probably the best decision would be to step down," Michaud said.

Former DNC chairman Tim Kaine has also called for Weiner’s resignation, along with prominent Republicans like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Preibus.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told reporters Tuesday that he cannot defend Weiner, but fell short of calling for his resignation.

When asked what advice he would give the congressman if he called him for advice, Reid joked, “call someone else.”

"I know Congressman Weiner,” Reid said following the Democrats closed-door policy meeting. “I wish there was some way I can defend him but I can't."

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