Former Florida Rep. Mark Foley, who in 2006 resigned his congressional seat after a scandal involving inappropriate emails to male interns, says the only advice he can give Rep. Anthony Weiner is he’s not going to get better by staying in Congress.
“You cannot fix your problem —whatever it is that is troubling him,” Foley told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Thursday in his first national interview since he resigned. “Beautiful wife, you know, wonderful family, a great constituency — obviously wasn’t enough for either one of us. He’s not going to get better going back into the building and hope people give him a pass.”
Foley resigned almost immediately after it came to light that he had sexually explicit Internet communications with teenage boys who worked on Capitol Hill, and entered an alcohol rehabilitation program.
“In my heart, you cannot fix this from inside that building,” he said, referring to why he decided he could not remain in Congress.
Many have suggested that Weiner — who on Monday admitted he had sent lewd pictures and email messages to several women over the Internet — resign and seek professional help, since he must have some sort of a problem. Weiner so far has refused.
Hannity asked Foley if he could provide some insight into how a powerful congressman can risk everything by sending inappropriate Internet messages.
“Well, you learn again in therapy, some of your challenges — you know, I saw the computer screen, almost like a confessional in our church where you are spewing things out — and not really thinking of the consequences,” Foley said. “But that’s not a good enough excuse. At the end of the day . . . , I’m the responsible party. But I learned from that — and hopefully, the example, maybe that I set, maybe people will learn.”
Hannity then asked why so many politicians, who should know they are being held to a higher standard, behave in inappropriate manners. He asked Foley what Weiner was going through and should he resign.
“Well, I know what he's going through from the feeling of remorse because there's no question you feel terrible,” Foley said. “All I know is what I did when . . . confronted with the charges. I first considered my family, community, my staff and the Congress that I loved. Those were my defining moments of the decision I had to make.
“Resignation was the only option, but I'm not suggesting had I waited 24 hours the leadership would have given me a pass,” he said. “In my heart, I said, you know, there are consequences for your actions. You can’t say, let me have a time-out — let me apologize to everybody,” he said.
“I had to step out of the process. I had to get help and I did. And I've recovered from that help, but while I was in the cauldron, I would never have fixed my life. I would never have fixed what was fundamentally wrong with me,” Foley said.
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