Donald Trump waged a ‘personal’ social media crusade against Anthony Weiner for over 5 years

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·White House Correspondent
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Donald Trump, Anthony Weiner (Photos: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Anthony Weiner (Photos: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

On Monday morning, Donald Trump released a statement on former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s latest sexting scandal. But it was far from the first time the Republican presidential nominee had weighed in on the explicit messages Weiner is accused of sending to women online.

In his statement, Trump praised Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, for deciding to separate from the former Queens congressman. Trump also suggested that Weiner’s closeness to Clinton could have posed a threat to national security.

“Huma is making a very wise decision. I know Anthony Weiner well, and she will be far better off without him. I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information,” Trump said. “Who knows what he learned and who he told? It’s just another example of Hillary Clinton’s bad judgment. It is possible that our country and its security have been greatly compromised by this.”

The statement was the culmination of more than five years of social media attacks Trump has launched against Weiner. Based on a fairly intensive search online, Trump recorded videos on multiple social media platforms and sent at least 75 tweets about Weiner since his sexting habit was revealed in 2011. One member of Trump’s inner circle told Yahoo News the issue is “personal” for Trump.

Trump weighed in each time there was a new revelation about the sexting or reports on a potential Weiner political comeback. In his commentaries, Trump repeatedly predicted that Weiner could “never be healed.” Trump also hurled a wide variety of insults at Weiner, including calling him a “sick puppy,” “sleazebag,” “unwanted porn star,” “sexual pervert,” a “whacko sicko sexter” and many more. Weiner did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Weiner’s intimate Internet messages first emerged in 2011, when he accidentally tweeted a lewd photo he meant to privately send to a woman. The fallout eventually caused Weiner to resign from his seat in the House of Representatives. Trump’s first post about Weiner was a YouTube video posted on June 7, 2011, the day after Weiner admitted to sending the picture after initially lying and attempting to blame the photo on a hacker.

In the video, which he also tweeted, Trump claimed, “Many people have been asking me about Anthony Weiner.” He also provided some insight into their existing relationship.

“I know him very well. He called me all the time looking for campaign contributions. It would never stop,” Trump said, later adding, “The fact is Anthony Weiner is a bad guy. He’s a psycho, and when this came out, I was not surprised at all.”

According to Trump, “One thing good came out of Anthony’s mess.”

“I’ll never have to give him campaign contributions, and that’s really wonderful,” he said.

Federal Election Commission reports show Trump donated to Weiner’s campaign account in 2007 and 2010 for a total of $4,300. While the donations may have sparked Trump’s fascination with the former congressman, they clearly aren’t the only factor behind his fixation on Weiner. In a conversation with Yahoo News on Monday, Michael Cohen, a longtime attorney at Trump’s real estate company, said Weiner may have earned Trump’s ire by firing back with his own insults. Cohen suggested Trump lets no slight go unanswered.

“This is personal to him because Anthony Weiner has continuously attacked Mr. Trump,” Cohen said. “You know it just doesn’t work that way.”

Weiner initially stayed out of the public eye following his departure from Congress. However, in 2012 there was a smattering of reporting that he was planning to mount a comeback.

The reports got Trump’s attention. Throughout 2012, in his tweets and another YouTube video, Trump suggested that Weiner was a “sick [and] perverted man” who would not change. Trump also advised Abedin to “drop him before it happens again.” At multiple points in 2012, Trump’s tweets described Weiner as a public menace.

“Scary thought–what is the pervert Anthony Weiner doing with all the free time he has. Does he collect unemployment?” Trump asked on Aug. 15.

During the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Trump worried that Weiner could be a danger to the attendees.

“Scary thought–is the sexual pervert Anthony Weiner now in Charlotte? Did he bring his phone with him?” Trump asked.

Trump issued a dire warning when Weiner returned to Twitter in November 2012.

In 2013, Weiner did indeed attempt a political comeback when he entered the New York City mayor’s race. Trump began tweeting as soon as there were reports indicating that Weiner was conducting polls to test the waters.

“Is Anthony Weiner also delusional? Add him to NY Sex Offender list instead!” Trump proclaimed.

Trump said he was eager to see Weiner campaign — and fail.

“I sure hope the sexting pervert Anthony Weiner runs for mayor,” Trump wrote. “Will be great fun watching him both lose and be humiliated.”

Trump ramped up his Twitter attacks after Weiner officially launched his mayoral campaign on May 21, 2013. In many of his tweets over the years, Trump misspelled Weiner’s name as “Wiener.”

Trump didn’t just use Twitter to blast Weiner’s mayoral bid. He also filmed multiple clips about Weiner with his account on the social media site Vine. Trump’s account has since been deactivated.

On July 23, 2013, Weiner became embroiled in his second major sexting scandal when nude pictures he sent a woman were published online. Though Weiner admitted to taking and sending the photos, he did not drop out of the mayor’s race. Trump repeatedly gloated that his predictions about Weiner had come true, and rejoiced as Weiner dropped in the polls. Trump also mocked Weiner for the “Carlos Danger” alias he used to communicate with some of his digital paramours. In many of his tweets, Trump linked Weiner to former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, another scandal-scarred politician who was attempting a comeback that year.

As the mayoral race came to a close, polls showed the second scandal had left Weiner a long shot. Trump predicted Weiner would return to sexting the moment election night ended.

“With the whacko pervert Weiner about to be embarrassed, all women need to be on the lookout. Sexting begins 9.11 @ 12:01 AM,” Trump wrote.

When Weiner and Spitzer were defeated, Trump took some credit for their losses. Spitzer, who has since left politics, declined to comment on this story.

“Thank you to all of my Twitter followers for helping to defeat Weiner and Spitzer,” Trump wrote the day after the election. “Remember, in the beginning they said it couldn’t be done!”

Trump’s tweets about Weiner didn’t end after the mayoral campaign. Since that race ended, Trump has posted three messages about Weiner — all of which focused on Abedin.

“Huma should dump the sicko Weiner. He is a calamity that is bringing her down with him,” Trump wrote on Sept. 23, 2013.

Trump refrained from tweeting about Weiner for almost two years. However, he returned to the subject last August as questions mounted over Clinton’s use of a private email server for official business during her time as secretary of state. In a pair of messages that month, Trump, who had already launched his presidential bid, implied that Abedin’s marriage to Weiner exacerbated the “security risk” posed by the email server and suggested that the marriage was a sham.

As of this writing, Trump has not tweeted about Weiner’s latest scandal or his separation from Abedin — and his campaign team seems satisfied that Trump’s response was confined to the official statement.

Yahoo News attempted to contact Trump to ask about his apparent fascination with Weiner. Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said he would not comment beyond the statement in which he praised Abedin’s decision to end the marriage and reiterated his concern that Weiner’s potential proximity to classified information was a security risk.

“I think his statement today is enough,” Hicks said.

Disclosure: This reporter briefly worked with Anthony Weiner when the former congressman was a columnist at Business Insider.