Mark Foley talks candidly with Hannity, advises Weiner to get out of ‘that building’by Dara Kam | June 9th, 2011
In his first nationally televised interview since stepping down from Congress in disgrace five years ago, Mark Foley advised Democratic New York Rep. Anthony Weiner he should consider doing the same.
“In my heart, you cannot fix this from inside that building,” Foley, a Palm Beach County Republican, told FoxNews television host Sean Hannity Thursday night.
Foley spoke candidly with Hannity in a 20-minute interview scheduled prior to the “Weinergate” scandal in which Weiner first claimed his Twitter account had been hacked but later tearfully admitted he had sent inappropriate photos and messages himself.
“You cannot fix your problem. Whatever it is that’s troubling him. Beautiful wife, 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 said.
Weiner refuses to step down despite growing demands for his resignation, including from fellow Democrats, since the brash New York Democrat’s public confession Monday that he had sent lewd messages and photographs to six women over the past three years. Weiner last fall was the keynote speaker for Palm Beach County Democrats’ annual fund-raising dinner.
“I know what he’s going through from the feeling of remorse because there’s no question you feel terrible,” said Foley, who was forced to resign in 2006 over sexually charged text messages he sent to teenage males who had worked in the congressional page program.
“All I know is what I did when I looked in the mirror,” Foley told Hannity when pressed on how he would advise Weiner. “I first considered my family, my community, my staff and the Congress I loved. Resignation was the only option. I’m not suggesting had I waited 24 hours leadership would have given me a pass. I had to step out of the process. I had to get help. And I did. And I recovered from that help. But while I was in the cauldron, I would have never fixed my problem. I would have never fixed what was fundamentally wrong with me.”
After he resigned in 2006 – just weeks before a pivotal election in which the Palm Beach Republican was replaced by a Democrat – Foley revealed he had been molested by a priest as an 11-year-old and entered rehab.
“I embarrassed my family, the staff, my constituents and the House of Representatives that I loved. I loved governing and being part of the process. And I threw it all away. I have no one else to blame but myself,” Foley told the conservative talk show host.
Foley, the host of his own radio show, toyed with the idea of running for mayor of West Palm Beach and didn’t rule out a political resurrection Thursday evening.
The Weiner scandal and sordid tales of other political figures force him to confront his own wrongdoings, Foley said.
“Any time there’s a scandal it brings back the horrific pain that I caused the people that I love. We just have to pray every day that we are going to be a better human being. That we learn from these tragedies and these mistakes. And then move forward,” Foley said.
Foley, who was chairman of the House Missing and Exploited Children Caucus at the time reports of the lurid exchanges surfaced, said he sent the messages late at night, usually after he had been drinking.
“Again, you can’t blame the alcohol. A lot of people drink and they don’t do stupid things,” he said.