The case of Huma Abedin — the wife of New York mayoral candidate and former congressman Anthony Weiner — may well prove an exception to two cultural norms: Society tends to root for families to stay intact; and when a husband cheats or otherwise brings embarrassment to his marriage via inappropriate conduct, public sentiment almost always sides with the wife who has been wronged — regardless of whether she chooses to pursue reconciliation or divorce.
Because when Weiner, who resigned from Congress in 2011 after an infamous sexting scandal, admitted this week to new allegations of explicit texting, Abdedin was roundly second-guessed for once again remaining supportive of Weiner.
“With Huma Abedin’s emergence as her husband’s chief defender and protector in a second sex scandal, she made a public transformation from being the victim of Anthony Weiner’s transgressions to a full partner in his ambition,” Karen Tumulty and Jason Horowitz wrote for the Washington Post. “Although those who know Abedin say they were surprised by how she seized the moment at his news conference Tuesday, rejecting humiliation for defiance, they note that she has been a major force in Weiner’s unlikely bid for redemption.”
Abby D. Phillips and Josh Margolin reported for ABC News that even Abedin’s friends are perplexed by her continued support of Weiner: “Of the people inside Abedin's circle of friends, one described being ‘shocked’ and ‘telling her this is no longer a good idea.’ Another told ABC News that two years ago, ‘she was the victim. Now with this yesterday, she's a partner. What is she doing?’”
New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz pulled no punches Thursday in blasting Abedin with an op-ed piece headlined, “She’s even worse: Why we’re mad at Huma.”
“No one would attack Abedin for staying in her marriage and defending her husband — if it weren’t for the fact that she’s trying to foist an unstable man on all of us,” Markowicz wrote. “Her defense of him is so over-the-top that the only conclusion that can be drawn is that she is as power-hungry and deranged as he is. It’s reminiscent of Elizabeth Edwards, willing to ignore her husband’s affair and obvious love child, so long as he still had a chance to become president.”