In Defense of Huma Abedin’s Decision To Forgive Weiner

Before you judge her, here are four things you need to know.

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Eric Thayer / REUTERS

New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin attend a news conference in New York, July 23, 2013.

Huma Abedin caused quite a stir when she walked into Anthony Weiner’s press conference yesterday. How could she show up with her husband at the moment he had been exposed—yet again—for unfaithful and lewd sexual behavior? Abedin is the most recent in the seemingly never ending line of political wives who step into the spotlight and face public scrutiny when their husband’s sex scandals go public. Elizabeth Edwards, Silda Spitzer, Darlene Ensign, Jenny Sanford—each had to decide whether or not she would would stand by her husband when he opened up about his behavior to the media. Abedin has made her choice. But before you judge her, here are four things you need to know.

1. Abedin’s mentor is Hillary Clinton. Of all women, Clinton knows what it means to weather a political sex scandal, and to weather it to her personal and professional benefit. She chose to stay married to the President of the United States during the country’s most graphic and jarring sex scandal, and now, two decades later, she is favored to be a 2016 presidential frontrunner. Clinton knows how to weigh the objective benefits and downsides of marriage versus separation when it comes to one’s own political future, and she has been able to see how the consequences have played out in the short and long term. If there was one call Huma made to weigh how to handle the “Carlos Danger” revelations when they came, there’s a good chance it was to Hillary.

2. Abedin herself is a savvy political operative. You don’t get to be Clinton’s confidant and senior advisor by making uncalculated professional or personal choices. Until her husband’s mayoral campaign, Abedin’s calculation was to stay largely behind the scenes. “For years I spent my professional life at the back of the room, far from the stage or the microphone,” she writes in an upcoming Harper’s Bazaar feature. “People tell me they’re surprised to see me out on the campaign trail, I understand because, trust me, no one is more surprised than I am.” Emerging to speak to the press yesterday was no casual choice. The first time Weinergate broke in 2011, she—like Clinton—chose to not appear with her husband. She would not be the beleaguered and devastated Silda Spitzer who stood next to Eliot in 2008. Yesterday Abedin knew the decision she was making to speak on her husband’s behalf, and, it as a choice that most likely takes into account her own political future, potentially as chief of staff to the nation’s first woman president, as well as her personal future, as mother to a 20-month old, Jordan.

3. Abedin did not “stand by” her husband at yesterday’s press conference. She stood diagonally off to the side from him. She did not hold his hand. She did not touch him, and her body language made sure he did not touch her. Her posture seemed uncomfortable, yet resolute. She was present, yes, but she was her own person. And her smile—as it always does—stole the show. She was practically radiant at times, and her presence and demeanor prompted cries for “Huma for Mayor” across social media.

4. Abedin also made her own decision to stay married to her husband, and she made the choice, she said, “for me, for our son, and for our family.” Her tone was clear—she meant what she said. To sincerely support a women’s right to choose their own future, the public has to let Huma be Huma, to use a Josiah Bartlet phrase. Some would say it is a pathetic decision. But the reality is that women all over the country are trying to figure out how to move forward with their lives and with their families lives when they discover their husbands have deviant sexual practices. If the scale goes from Elizabeth Edwards and Silda Spitzer to Jenny Sanford and Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin puts herself in the company of the latter. “Launching this campaign was not an easy decision for our family to make,” she tells Harpers. “Putting yourself out there comes with a cost.” Abedin’s cost-benefit analysis deserves its own defense.

76 comments
Denesius
Denesius

I don't care what the author of the article states: she is a spineless blob of protoplasm. If she had any dignity, self-esteem, or sense of shame, she would walk before his political career finally implodes, as it inevitably will.

Steven1970
Steven1970

It's one thing to actually care about your husband's extramarital sexual activities and genuinely forgive your husband for any indiscretions (I am not completely convinced that Abedin does or has, but ok...).  But it's a different thing to parade your apology up in front of the press in an attempt to make a political save.  Mind you, she did not simply say, "Respect our privacy."  Rather, notwithstanding the angle of her stance that the author finds so significant, she emphasized the assertion that "I forgave my husband" [read: and so should you].  Under the circumstances (including the choice to run in the first place), I do not think it is unfounded to conclude that the Abedin/Weiner political partnership (without knowing all the facts, I don't want to presume to characterize it as a "marriage" in the sense that most Americans view that institution) pursues political office with a vigor that defies judgment that perhaps SHOULD make people feel squeemish.  There is ambition, which is always necessary to mount a political campaign; and then there are those who will do absolutely ANYTHING to get elected.  I certainly cannot blame people for sensing that we are dealing with the latter in the case of Abedin/Weiner.

HiggsAndrys
HiggsAndrys

i want to say a very big thanks and appreciation to Therapist Oniha for bringing back my wife who left me and the kids for almost two months. i am very much grateful to Therapist Oniha. I pray God almighty give you the strength and wisdom to help more people having similar problem like mine. He can always be of help to you and you can reach him on his email address winexbackspell@gmail.com if you have similar problems.

mnny
mnny

Her smile stole the show? You must have watched a different press conference than I did. As Anthony Weiner was admitting to sexting, she was standing next to him smiling on and off as he said it. They deserve eachother. Two pathetic people, although he is far worse than she is.

ALLITYPING
ALLITYPING

Let's talk about why men turn elsewhere for sexual fulfillment for a moment.  Truth is, Eliot Spitzer inspired my first novel, VIRTUE, which chronicles a woman choosing to become a call girl and the varied hats she wears in order to please her clients.  My research led to one conclusion: sex is so much more than just sex.

Both men are embarrassed by their sexual needs and outsource them. 

As for Hilary and Huma, to name a few, their turn-on is power.  If Spitzer or Weiner really loved their wives, they never would have subjected them to more humiliation. 

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

Problem is Hillary greed for power overpowers her basic decency. Without Bill she is nothing. Bill was doing it before and still doing it now. So much for the Democrats empathy with women. Huma Abedin may just be following Hillary advice to her.

poomakmak
poomakmak

And where was Hillary when Bill decided to throw 800,000 Rwandan's under the bus?  Where was Hillary when Bill was with any number of other women?  Where was Huma when Weenee was displaying himself--in the kitchen, fixing lox and bagels? This story is about politicians and bureaucracy: the triumph of opportunism for the mediocre.

Randi
Randi

Sad and ridiculous.  I can understand Hillary making a calculated decision to stay with the only person who may help her in s credible bid for the presidency in the future -- that's a pretty lofty goal and being wed to Bill Clinton does in fact advance her towards that goal.  To compare the lift that Bill Clinton provides in Hillary's career with whatever "lift" Weiner could possibly provide is ridiculous.  The only thing this sad, pathetic woman is proving to her son is how he can be a player and get away with it.   And, I have to agree with another commenter about this columnist's choice to write that Huma "is standing diagonally, instead of behind" is laughable.  Lets face it -- this woman is Tammy Wynette's hit song, "Stand By Your Man," personified; that song is the soundtrack to this truly pathetic media sideshow -- and I can only imagine that Time's decision to run this drivel has only to do with clicks and comments generated, such as mine! 


MikeWine
MikeWine

Yes be who you want to be....but now you must be banned from politics..where is the judicial system in politics...oh wait yes they write the laws...silly me!!!

JoeFrederick
JoeFrederick

Wait a second, she did not stand by her man she was diagonally positioned, I mean really this is the strech you are making, it is laughable.

And this is great , she has a good smile so make her the mayor?

This is a comedy act.  are you punking us Elizabeth?

wbcoleman
wbcoleman

I'm sorry, these excuses are absurd.  If she loves him and wants to stay married to him, mazel tov.  But she went beyond that, she is trying to persuade the NYC electorate to VOTE for him.  She is complicit and she is an enabler.  Of couse, as Elizabeth Dias reminds us, she is emulating her mentor.

Good_Lt
Good_Lt

Paging Sandra Fluke.

You have a call on the white courtesy phone.

JoeFrederick
JoeFrederick

So Roomney hated women and anyone else hates women who wants them to simply pay for there own birth control. But Weiner, Splitzer and Filner are just the great role models for how to treat women. You womens groups have been a joke every since Clinton and you continue to be a joke and nothing but a tool for the Democrates to help them stay in power.

MichaelBecker
MichaelBecker

That would be Strike Four.  This has to to the head of the line for admission into the Apologists Museum.  Elizabeth I hope you got paid a ton of money for this because you'll be forever known as a "hack" as a result of it.  Pathetic.

JoeFrederick
JoeFrederick

Please, this is a political descision. What kind of a sicko is this guy, if you stand up there and face people after what he has been doing there is something wrong with you, I would never show my face in public again. The desire to rule over people is so great that these dirtbags just do not care. When will poeple start to look into the character of these slimballs. If he will do this to his wife do you really think he is going to give a crap about the citizens that he does not even know. He is in it for himself, a sick power hungry maniac.

bojimbo26
bojimbo26

Neither takes their marriage vows seriously .

oregonbird
oregonbird

Defense #1 and #2: Bitch is a cold-blooded politician trading her personal integrity and soul for future power, like her Sweet Mama Hillary... that's a defense? Is that a new spelling of 'indictment'?
At least Time gets to the important stuff on #3: "She looks radiant!" I wonder which designer she's wearing?! Do we know who did her makeup?
But let's get to the most important "defense": Huma made a decision all on her own. Just like a big boy!
ffs. I hate Time. I hate misogyny. I hate America.

ahandout
ahandout

Who's the biggest swinging D!ck in the jungle:  Anthony Weiner.

ahandout
ahandout

GOD, I love that sign.

It really says it all.

AmnonZohar
AmnonZohar

Is that what American moral standards have stooped to: Cost Benefit Analysis? The man can not be trusted amd un;ess he admits to being deseased with a sex addiction syndrome his judgement or lack thereoff does not qualify him for any elected office let a;pne running NYC. This matter is about the public trust. He and Huma can do whatever they want it's none of our business as long as he drops out of his campaign to become mayor.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

He cheated on her MULTIPLE times...

Spin it whatever way you want, but Common Sense says she's a dope for not moving on to someone who can treat her better.

aztecian
aztecian

come on, leave them alone.  bottom line...they probably both like to swing, but that is their business.  in 10 years this bashing by republicans will be a thing of the past for this type of behavior/outlet.  clinton proved you can be a great leader and still have fun.  think about it...she worked for hillary...there could be a lot going on here, but it's none of our business.

BobSheepleherder
BobSheepleherder

There seems to be quite a few folks out there that don't get the concept of "ethics". They have reduced this situation to "sexual morality". "Give him a pass, who cares about sex"?? This story is not about Weiner's addiction to deviant sex, it's about his ability to control himself and whether his word is good ... whether he will lie to you, whether he is capable of doing the right thing when it interferes with his next fix. Apparently, some of you don't care that he lies to his wife or lies to his family and friends, lies to the women he does his thing with on the net ... BUT, you think he has such a high moral character that he will never lie to YOU. Weird.

JanetWilliams1
JanetWilliams1

Elizabeth Dias, please pass the bong. You've had enough.

BobSheepleherder
BobSheepleherder

Great, she wouldn't spit on him if he were on fire but she does everything she can to get him elected. So not only does he not care about anything, except getting elected and kinky sex, but she doesn't care about anything except being the wife of the next mayor of NY. Who needs ethics to guide you through life when you can use political expedience instead.

cjh2nd
cjh2nd

i don't think anyone is being quick to judge her. we've had years to form our conclusions, and there are only 3 logical ones that can be drawn. she's either a) completely spineless b) views her marriage as a means to an end or c) is just completely idiotic


PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

I have no opinion on Huma Abedin's decisions about her marriage. Not my marriage, after all.

As for Anthony Weiner, he's displaying really poor judgment, which should lead voters to favor someone else. Further, as Ari Melber said on the TeeVee the other day, "Weiner accomplished nothing in the House, and now he wants a promotion after resigning his last job." That's pretty much the end of the conversation for me. Maybe New Yorkers would be willing to put up with all the prevarication and the endless circus if somebody besides Anthony Weiner thought there was something special about Anthony Weiner. I sure don't, and am anticipating the day when I no longer hear about him.

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

I have seen this song and dance routine once before, so I'm not surprised that she's connected to Hillary Clinton. This is an absolute disgrace to the human condition. All politicians, Republican and Democrat that have gotten caught cheating on their wives have no moral compass, and have zero creditability. They get up in front of a bank of microphones, shed some tears, promise to do better, and partisans forgive as if they're some lap dog depending on their next meal. They provide moral equivalence, casting out examples of other politicians from the opposite party to provide cover.  His wife by all accounts is a brilliant woman, who could stand on her own two feet without her husband dragging her down in the mud of his failures. I would have a ton of respect if she left him standing their alone to face the media and his constituents. That would be much more refreshing, than to see her standing there in defense of his actions. He is a narcissist, a misogynist, a predator, and possibly the next mayor of New York City.

paulejb
paulejb

 Tony Weiner aka Carlos Danger is the virtual reality version of a pervert in a raincoat flashing school children.

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

I support her. The reason I do is because if I were in the same situation, for the sake of my family, I would probably do the same thing. Divorce and separation are not the easy sign your paper and go on your way thing, it appears to have become in the press.

When there are children in a marriage, a couple that cares for each other, and the fact that we ALL make mistakes, it is best to do what is in the best interest of all REALLY concerned.<< The family

My only question is how that beautiful woman ended up with that ugly skinny guy. lol. Oh, well. Love is blind, eh.

paulejb
paulejb

Sorry, Huma, you are married to that schlub and you have to put up with him. You'll forgive the rest of us if he makes us hurl.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@Randi In all this people forget that Huma is a Muslim. She cannot divorce Big and Little Weiner. But both can divorce her. Muslim women are property of men. To do what he pleases.


JoeFrederick
JoeFrederick

Its none of our business? You would be correct if he was not seeking office. So we should just accept a politicain that treats his wife this way, what makes you think he will treat you and the rest of us any different. If he has such low regard for her why will he care about poeple he does not know? He is a liar and prpbably  has some other psych issues and you want to evelvate him to have such great power over you.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@BobSheepleherder I won't ever hire you because you have sex morally.  I don't believe that moral people have any right to run for office because they don't represent or even want to deal with amoral people.  The nation is one of amoral people.  Morality is deviant behavior.

If this sounds odd to you, it's exactly what someone would say to you in an "opposite" world.  But it COULD be said to you, based on what you say about others.  What does your sexual "morality" have to do with you performing a job?

Nothing.

Why have a brain when you have a book that tells you what to think?

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@cjh2nd I choose C, kind of like the person who posted the choices in the first place.

oregonbird
oregonbird

@PerryWhite1 Weiner put together and presented the Progressive budget to Pelosi, who dustbinned it. Go check it out, it was a thing of beauty. Not long after, and just five hours after delivering an invitation to Justice Thomas to appear before a Congressional committee and do a little 'splainin' about his bribe taking, political interactions and conflicts of interest, Weiner was suddenly in a firestorm. One in which no crime had been committed, and which he copped to less than a week later -- for a politician, that's practically instant. Pelosi, who works happily with criminals like Rangel, took almost no time to throw an elected representative out of office ... without a charge having been filed against him.  The Congressional committee to look into Thomas' malfeasance? Funny how nobody remembered to show up for that.

paulejb
paulejb

@terryclifton1 

No one can top Democrat Governor Jim McGreevey declaring that "I am a gay American" while his pitiful wife stood be his side looking like a deer in the headlights.

Good_Lt
Good_Lt

@BenevolentLawyer He does not care about her. He was trying to set up an affair with at least one 22-year-old during Huma's pregnancy (after he had resigned). 

He's a slimy borderline sexual predator that would be a joke if the possibility that Democrats would show up and vote for a piece of garbage like this wasn't in fact real.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

@paulejb  

Do you really think you speak for the rest of us?  Mind your own business, paulie.  Their marriage is really none of your concern.

BobSheepleherder
BobSheepleherder

@DeweySayenoff @BobSheepleherder I was wondering about that "book" you were referring to and it finally occurred to me you meant the "Bible" or perhaps the "Koran"! Now that's funny. I would encourage you to read them both, you might learn something about ethics, but I also encourage you to read other books. History books in particular are replete with stories of honorable, ethical men and women who don't confuse their sexual proclivities with their ethical behavior, something you haven't learned yet. Read and educate yourself.

BobSheepleherder
BobSheepleherder

@DeweySayenoff @BobSheepleherder Brilliant defense of immoral behavior. You must be a real wit ... or half of one at least. Doesn't make a lot of sense, but I guess that's just the way you are. Apparently, ethics doesn't have much of a part in your life but most people, myself included, prefer our politicians to be moral, ethical and true to their word, if not to their wives than at least to their constituents.

racerkoi
racerkoi

@paulejb @terryclifton1 I can top that...the look on Wendy Vitter's face as she stood there while her husband, Sen. David Vitter's admitted visiting prostitutes.

He repulsed me but she was in AGONY!

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

@paulejb @terryclifton1  

All of these charades are despicable acts of men trying to save their own self-interests.  I would accept an apology and them stepping away from public service. If their spouses can't trust them, why would they expect us to trust them, regardless of political party?  

BenevolentLawyer
BenevolentLawyer

@Good_Lt I am sort of conflicted about this man. He showed no remorse and he lied to his wife. She has a child, so I would not recommend she leave. It is all about the family. Children do not have to suffer because the adults in their lives have chosen chaos. It is the job of parents to make everything as stable as possible for their children.

On his politics, I just do not know. On these and other liberal sites, everyone says it does not matter. On conservative sites, they want him castrated. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. Should a politician be so reckless as to patronize prostitutes and engage in acts that could compromise his office? Do New Yorkers want a man who sends his pictures of his "package" (btw, which from the pictures looks PATHETIC and shriveled up) to some molla, somewhere, as their elected official.

I think a person's private life is always between him and his wife. In this case, Weiner has been reckless especially since he knows how salacious matters like this, like it or not, still matter to the average voter.

In this case, even though I do not live in NY, for once, I think the pollsters might be right if they categorize me as 'undecided'. Never mind that during the last election, even though I told them one million times that even though I was Independent (and the so called swing voter), I was NOT voting for Romney, but Obama. Yet, call after call, they still described me as an undecided voter, and wanted to know who I would be supporting, and I told them. Yet they continued to call me. Anyhow, I digressed.

Weiner is silly. I do not know whether I would vote for him, if I were in a position to do so.   

paulejb
paulejb

@Hollywooddeed @paulejb 

I never speak for low information libs, Hollywood. It would requite a lobotomy in order to speak as they do.

ahandout
ahandout

@terryclifton1  And the Edwards case was the one that the media buried.  It took the National Enquirer to expose the story.  For crying out loud, the National Enquirer is modern journalism.  Sickening.

paulejb
paulejb

@Hollywooddeed @paulejb 

Not difficult at all, Hollywood. I just have to be careful not to use big words so as not to leave any lib behind.