06/13/2011 at 08:00 AM EDT
Congressman Anthony Weiner has resigned following the scandal in which he admitted to sending messages
with sexual content to a number of women.
"I'd hoped to be able to continue the work that the citizens of my district elected me to do – to fight for the middle class and those struggling to make it," Weiner told reporters at a press conference on Thursday Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, where his political career first took off when he was elected to the City Council in 1992. "Unfortunately, the distraction that I have created has made that impossible, so today I am announcing my resignation from Congress."
During the announcement, Weiner spoke for a little more than four minutes, continuing on despite a disruption from the crowd.
At one point a heckler shouted, "Bye bye, pervert."
Weiner, 46, expressed his gratitude to his constituents, colleagues and his family, particularly his wife Huma Abedin, 35, an aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was noticeably not at his side during the announcement. "I'm here today to again apologize for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused," he said. "I made this apology to my neighbors and constituents, but I make it in particular to my wife, Huma."
Weiner, the U.S. Representative for New York's 9th congressional district, which includes parts of Brooklyn and Queens, sent a suggestive image via Twitter to a woman in Washington State. He initially said his account had been hacked, but soon admitted to sending the message.
The congressman, who got married last summer, has acknowledged "six inappropriate relationships over the past three years" with women over the Internet.
Calls for his resignation had been growing in recent days, both inside and outside the House of Representatives. Leading the cry in the House was minority leader Nancy Pelosi, the leader of Weiner's Democratic party in the chamber. Constituents also protested outside Weiner's Queens offices on Sunday.
By Thursday morning, rumors swirled that the congressman had already debriefed House leaders about his plans to resign.
Weiner, who was previously considered a possible front-runner to succeed New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2013, had said he would ask only for a temporary leave
from the House as he sought treatment for his problems, but that notion did not appease his critics.
Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, 35, an aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, is also pregnant
with the couple's first child.