Split with 'sexting' hubby puts Clinton aide in spotlight again

Ms Abedin (right) stood by her husband, Mr Weiner (left), as he attempted a political comeback in 2013 by contesting in the New York mayoral race.
Ms Abedin (right) stood by her husband, Mr Weiner (left), as he attempted a political comeback in 2013 by contesting in the New York mayoral race. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • Ms Huma Abedin, a long-serving Hillary Clinton aide who prides herself on her loyalty and discretion, has found herself under a glare of unwanted scrutiny after announcing her separation from husband and disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner.

Mr Weiner, 51, lost his job and now potentially his marriage after repeatedly getting caught sending suggestive messages to women on Twitter. The separation announcement follows a report on Sunday in the New York Post that Mr Weiner had recently sent photos and sexual messages to another woman.

The newspaper reported that Mr Weiner - wearing trousers but no shirt - sent one revealing picture of his crotch last year while his young son, Jordan Zane, was curled up next to him in bed.

Mr Weiner was a typical brash, combative New York politician - an in-your-face Democrat who made political enemies even as his star rose in Washington.

Ms Abedin stood by him through 2011 revelations about his online relationships with women. She was pregnant when his sexting habit led to his resignation from Congress in June 2011. A second sexting episode in 2013 helped seal career defeat for Mr Weiner as he attempted a political comeback by contesting in the New York mayoral race.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly alleged, without evidence, that Ms Abedin was sharing classified secrets with her husband, whom he called a "pervert" and a "sleaze".

He is Jewish. She describes herself as a proud Muslim, brought up in Saudi Arabia by parents from South Asia. Ms Abedin, 41, has periodically garnered headlines for her roles in controversies over donor access to Mrs Clinton, her boss' use of a private e-mail server at the State Department and Ms Abedin's overlapping employment with an outside consulting firm while she was a government employee.

Mrs Clinton has said Ms Abedin was like a second daughter to her. Ms Abedin spends more time with Mrs Clinton than nearly anyone else, with unique access born of two decades of discreet service. She is now the vice-chair of Mrs Clinton's campaign.

The separation also supplies a parallel between Mrs Clinton and her husband Bill, and each wife's public embarrassment by the sexual indiscretions of her politician husband.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly alleged, without evidence, that Ms Abedin was sharing classified secrets with her husband, whom he called a "pervert" and a "sleaze".

He said on Monday that Ms Abedin was "making a very wise decision" by separating.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2016, with the headline 'Split with 'sexting' hubby puts Clinton aide in spotlight again'. Print Edition | Subscribe