WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama, increasing pressure on Rep. Anthony Weiner to quit, said Monday that "I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign."
In a rare foray into a congressman's ethical conduct, Obama told NBC's Today show that Weiner's sexually charged photos and messages online to several women was "highly inappropriate."
"I think he's embarrassed himself. He's acknowledged that. He's embarrassed his wife and his family. Ultimately, there's going to be a decision for him and his constituents. I can tell you that, if it was me, I would resign," the president said in an interview to air this morning.
Obama said public service "is exactly that, it's a service to the public. And when you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can't serve as effectively as you need to at the time when people are worrying about jobs, and their mortgages, and paying the bills, then you should probably step back."
Weiner spokeswoman Risa Heller had no comment on Obama's remarks.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for Weiner to quit, as have several other Democrats including party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.
The House Ethics Committee on Monday began a preliminary inquiry that could bloom into a full investigation if Weiner, a New York Democrat, ignores calls to resign.
If Weiner did resign, the committee would no longer have jurisdiction to investigate him.
Congress returned to work Monday as Weiner began a leave of absence while seeking treatment for an undisclosed disorder at an undisclosed location.