Michael Wiener, a GOP county commissioner in New Mexico, is being asked to resign after a picture of him posing with scantily clad women in a well-known red light district in the Philippines surfaced earlier this week.
(See picture below)
"The very nature of those photos, I think is sufficient to warrant that commissioner Wiener resign," fellow County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democratic U.S. House candidate, told New Mexico's KOB 4.
"We might censure him; we might have to pass a new resolution or a rule, but really he should resign, and I am absolutely going to ask him to do so," she said later.
The controversy came to light on Wednesday when photographer John Keatley, an American who was in an area of Angeles City to document the thriving sex tourism industry, posted the photo on his blog. Wiener has denied any wrongdoing in the matter, adamantly maintaining that he was in the Philippines to visit his young daughter and fiancée and that he took a trip to the sex trade hot bed during an airport layover. He also claims he didn't even stay in the area overnight. Another picture apparently shows Wiener with his fiancée.
"NOTHING untoward ever happened. NOTHING," Wiener wrote in a statement. "The pictures taken are as innocent as any that could be taken at Twin Peaks or Hooters here."
Talking Points Memo has tracked down Keatley, however, who is skeptical of Wiener's visit to that part of town. From their interview:
"You can't assume anyone there on the street is there for sex," Keatley said Thursday in an interview with TPM. "But my encounter with Michael Wiener was very different. ... It was very obvious to me that he was not respectful to women. He was there to have a good time."
Keatley said the women in the photo were what are called "bar girls." They are often prostitutes who work at bars in a section of the city known to have one of the most booming sex trades in the world. "There is this place where everyone is for sale and boatloads of Americans are going there for one purpose only," Keatley said.
Keatley also told TPM that he overheard Wiener making some comments toward the women, such as suggesting to one of them that she could touch his penis. Wiener has denied making such a remark.
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