WASHINGTON — Reticent no longer, the Democratic Party hierarchy demanded on Saturday that Rep. Anthony Weiner for sending online material ranging from sexually suggestive to explicit to several women.
"This sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction for Representative Weiner, his family, his constituents and the House," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the party chairwoman, said in a written statement calling for the New York lawmaker to quit.
The House Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, said Weiner "has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents and the recognition that he needs help. I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a member of Congress."
Weiner had no immediate reaction.
Wasserman Schultz, Pelosi and others party leaders made their demands one day after Weiner acknowledged that he had exchanged online messages with a Delaware teenager. He said the exchanges involved nothing inappropriate.
His party's leadership had refrained from demanding a resignation for days after Weiner admitted sending lewd photos and messages and at least one X-rated picture to a handful of women around the country over the past three years and then lying about it.
Weiner is married to Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Abedin is pregnant with the couple's first child. She is traveling with Clinton in Africa until the middle of next week.
A recent poll of registered voters in Weiner's New York City district found that 56 percent said he should stay in office while 33 percent said he should leave.
Pelosi has asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether Weiner used any government resources. He has said he does not believe he did.
Before Saturday's developments, at least nine House members and three senators said Weiner should resign.
He has repeatedly said he would not.
Weiner told reporters earlier Saturday in his neighbor that "I have to redeem myself and I am going to try to get back to work," Weiner said.
Weiner said his conduct involved "personal failings" and that he would try not to let them get in the way of his "professional work."
He said his wife "is doing well" and that she "is a remarkable woman who is working very hard."