Andrew Siff / NBC New York
More embarrassing photos of Rep. Weiner surfaced Sunday, this time of him apparently taking photos of himself half-naked inside the House member's gym in D.C. As top Democrats continue to call for his resignation, New York leaders Sen. Charles Schumer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are staying notably neutral. Andrew Siff reports.
More embarrassing photos of Rep. Anthony Weiner surfaced Sunday, showing the 46-year-old married lawmaker posing half-naked inside what appeared to be the House members' gym in Washington.
The photos appeared on the tabloid news site TMZ, which said it obtained the pictures that Weiner took of himself using his BlackBerry and a mirror, and that he had sent them to at least one woman.
NBC News has confirmed the backdrop of the photos appears to be that of the House members' gym, but has not confirmed the authenticity of the photos.
The photos are the latest to come out since Weiner admitted last Monday to having sexually charged exchanges online with women he did not know and to sending inappropriate photos of himself to the women. Some of the images were leaked to various media outlets in the days following Weiner's public apology.
Despite the increasingly embarrassing developments in the sexting scandal, Weiner has rejected calls by Democratic leaders to resign. Instead, he announced Saturday he wanted to take a leave of absence from Congress to seek professional help.
Weiner's mentor Sen. Charles Schumer said at the Puerto Rican Day Parade Sunday he supported the congressman's decision.
"For those of us who are longtime friends of Anthony, this is heartbreaking," Schumer told NBC New York.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also at the parade, declined to offer advice even as fellow Democrats continued pushing for Weiner to step down.
"It's basically a federal matter, so I don't know that my involvement would be helpful or relevant," said Cuomo, who would have to call a special election if Weiner were to resign.
Still, other top Democrats are wrestling with how best to end the furor over the seven-term congressman's misdeeds that could hurt the party's prospects in the 2012 elections. The Weiner spectacle has been a huge embarrassment for Democrats who back in 2006 made GOP ethics misdeeds a part of their successful campaign to win control of the House.
"This sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction for Representative Weiner, his family, his constituents and the House," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the party chairwoman, said in a written statement calling for Weiner to step down.
She appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday morning to reiterate her statement.
"At the end of the day, a member of Congress makes his own decision, but we have made it clear that he should resign and put his own personal issues in order," Wasserman said.
The House Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, said Weiner "has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents and the recognition that he needs help. I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a member of Congress."
Aides said later that Pelosi had been aware of Weiner's plan to enter treatment when she issued her statement, and her call for a resignation had not changed because of it.
Weiner's spokeswoman, Risa Heller, said in a statement that the congressman departed Saturday morning "to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person. In light of that, he will request a short leave of absence from the House of Representatives so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well."
The statement did not say where he would receive treatment, or what type was involved.
The developments occurred one day after Weiner acknowledged he had exchanged online messages with a 17-year-old girl in Delaware. He said nothing improper had passed between the two of them.
Democrats said the concerted call for his resignation had been brewing for days, as senior party officials concluded the scandal was interfering with their effort to gain political momentum in advance of the 2012 elections.
Aides to Weiner said the congressman wants to see his wife Huma before making any more decisions. She's due back Tuesday after traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Middle East.
As for the leave of absence, Congress has seen it before. In 2006, Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy got a 30-day leave after crashing his car near the Capitol amid drug problems.
Asked on May 5, 2006, if his colleague got special treatment, Weiner told NBC New York, "I'm not going to defend Congressman Kennedy, I don't know if he has anything to be defended from. I can say this, the rules applicable to Congressman Kennedy, to Congressman Weiner, to President Bush, to Vice President Cheney are the same: No one is above the law."