Huma Abedin has taken on many roles throughout her life. The 41-year-old has an extensive resume from her two decades in the political world. But her accomplishments threaten to be overshadowed by the actions of her husband, former congressman Anthony Weiner, whose third major sexting scandal broke this week. On Monday, Abedin announced that she would be separating from Weiner. However, she is more than the wife of a man with problematic behavior, and we should talk about Abedin's accomplishments out of respect for that, rather than focus on her marriage.
Abedin entered the political sphere when she was 19 years old, when she became an intern in the office of then-First-Lady Hillary Clinton, to whom she bound her career going forward. She went on to be an aide during Clinton's successful senatorial bid in 2000, then served as her personal assistant when she sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. Abedin was Clinton's deputy chief of staff when she was secretary of state. And now, as a mother of a four-year-old, Abedin serves as the Democratic candidate's campaign vice chair.
Abedin's duties across these various positions are hard to box up neatly, since she's had a hand in so many aspects of Clinton's various campaigns and offices. California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom told Vogue that Abedin is a "Swiss army knife" in the political world. Clinton campaign chair John Podesta told Vogue, "There are people who are terrific at running scheduling operations or at being the rolling chief of staff or at keeping the political connections going. What’s interesting about Huma is that she does all of that."
One of Abedin's biggest tasks during the 2016 election thus far has been playing a key role in orchestrating the Democratic National Convention in July. She was responsible for determining who would speak and in what order. Along with being Clinton's right-hand woman for 20 years, Abedin has done consulting work, including for the prominent Teneo, a global advisory firm. Some of her later work for Teneo while she was still a “special government employee" at the State Department raised some red flags for Republicans, who thought the relationship between private consultant groups and the government was too cozy, especially as Clinton's State Department tenure has come under increasing scrutiny. However, Abedin has not been linked to any illegal activities.
Abedin has an impressive resume, and she deserves to be acknowledged for her accomplishments. She is certainly more than Anthony Weiner's wife, and her quick rise to positions of prominence in the political world attests to a strong, intelligent woman of many talents. It does her — and, frankly, professional women in general — a complete disservice to boil her down to her husband's records, whether they merit praise or criticism.