It’s possible that New York Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner was simply suffering from low blood sugar when he verbally attacked a man who tried to shame him Wednesday as Weiner campaigned in an Orthodox Jewish section of Brooklyn.
Or it could just be that he’s had it, sick of being moralized at by people who are too dense to grasp that Weiner, who has already apologized for his mortifying sexual improprieties and begged his wife for forgiveness, has Moved On.
“Takes one to know one, jackass,” said Weiner, turning around to the confront the man who’d lobbed the verbal grenade. “What’s that? You wait till I walk out to say anything? That’s courage.”
The man, who appeared to be in his 40s, then walked toward Weiner, and into YouTube history.
What ensued was a heated two-minute confrontation between the man, who had on a kippah, and Weiner, who had on his pants. (Badabum!)
With his campaign staggering under the weight of at least two distinct sexting scandals, including one that burst open just as his mayoral effort was finally gathering some steam, it’s really a miracle he’s stayed in the Democratic primary. He’s apparently decided that if he’s going down, he may as well go down in flames. This is less of a campaign and more of a daredevil act.
In a video shot by blogger Jacob Kornbluh, posted on Talking Points Memo, the verbal combatants were surrounded by reporters and customers, most of whom seemed to be taking immense pleasure in Weiner’s meltdown. The faces of the young women behind the bakery counter were obscured, not because they were hiding, but they were holding up their cellphones to record the moment.
Later, the Weiner campaign released a much longer six-minute video, which shows the confrontation in a fuller context.
The beginning of the video captured Weiner bantering with bakery staff before buying some chocolate-dipped honey-filled cookies and an iced coffee. “This is what you do, you eat sweets for the New Year,” he said, referring to Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which was to begin at sundown. “How ya doing, my friend?” he said, turning to a customer and shaking his hand. “I’m Anthony Weiner, I’m running for mayor.”
Weiner refused a discount and after he paid, he started to leave. “Be well,” he said. “Have a sweet New Year.”
At that point, the man in the kippah said: “You’re a real scumbag, Anthony.”
“Very nice, in front of children,” Weiner said.
Then the man added, “Married to an Arab. You’re disgusting.” (Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton, was born in Michigan and grew up in Saudi Arabia.)
“You have the nerve to even walk around in public,” the man said. “You’re disgusting.”
“You’re my judge?” Weiner demanded. “What rabbi taught you that you’re my judge?”
“You’re a bad example for the people,” the man replied. “Your behavior’s deviant. It’s not normal behavior.”
“How do you have the moral authority to judge me?” says Weiner.
“Think about your wife,” the man said, somewhat incongruously, given his apparent denigration of Weiner’s wife moments earlier. “How can you take the person closest to you, and trusts you, and betray her?”
Weiner’s voice rose and rose, as he tried to talk over the guy, who stayed calm.
“You don’t get to judge me because you have shown no sign that you are superior to me, and you are not my God,” Weiner said.
“What you did is deviant behavior,” said the man. “Stay out of the public. Go home and get a job.”
After the heated exchange, Weiner quickly regained his composure.
Someone in the scrum of reporters on the sidewalk asked him if he would forgive the man since it was Rosh Hashana eve.
“Of course, of course. I don’t hold it against him,” Weiner replied, moving down the sidewalk, back in campaign mode. “How ya doin’ guys?”