Huma Abedin, close aide to Hillary Clinton, is in the news following the recent announcement of her separation from her scandal-plagued husband, former New York State Representative Anthony Weiner. The longtime staffer and fluent speaker of Arabic first started working for Clinton during the 1990s when the current presidential candidate lived in the White House as First Lady.
Who is Huma Abedin? Here’s a close look at Abedin and her rise as Clinton’s shadow aide throughout the years.
Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Abedin was raised in Saudi Arabia after relocating there with her parents — both professors – and three siblings at the age of 3. She later came back to the United States to study at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
White House Internship
While a student at GWU, Abedin landed a coveted position at the White House as an intern working for the First Lady. Following her graduation, Abedin rose in the ranks and worked as one of Clinton’s closest aides during her terms as senator for the state of New York. Abedin served as an advisor on Middle East policy and was repeatedly described as a workaholic.
The 2008 Presidential Campaign and State Department
Abedin’s role shifted to that of chief of staff to Clinton during the latter’s failed 2008 campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. Abedin seldom left Clinton’s side and was named deputy chief of staff as well as Clinton Foundation consultant when Clinton was appointed secretary of state.
Abedin’s simultaneous jobs with the Clinton Foundation and the State Department were scrutinized after the New York Times disclosed the arrangement in 2013.
Relationship with Scandal-clad Anthony Weiner
Abedin originally met Anthony Weiner in 2001 at a Democratic National Committee event when Weiner was then a representative from Queens, New York. In the beginning, she dismissed Weiner’s proposals to romantically date but warmed up to him gradually throughout the 2000s. They started dating in 2008 with Weiner proposing a year later. The marriage ceremony took place in 2010, officiated by Bill Clinton.
At the event, Hillary Clinton described Abedin as a “second daughter”.
Pregnant, the Clinton aide stood by Weiner throughout the 2011 sexting scandal that prompted his resignation from Congress and gave birth to a baby boy just a few weeks afterward. She continued to support her husband as the sexting scandal further unraveled during his campaign for mayor of New York City in 2013. More women had come forward claiming they had been sexted by Weiner.
2016 Electoral Campaign
Last year, Abedin’s role transitioned to that of vice chairwoman of Clinton’s current campaign for president. She wrote an email to Clinton supporters in December as a “proud Muslim” and lambasted Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s public proposal to ban foreign Muslims from entering the United States.
The investigation into Clinton’s use of a non-authorized email server has taken into account Abedin’s emails to Clinton while the latter was secretary of state. In recent weeks, Trump has charged the Clintons of pay for foul play in having had Abedin work for both the State Department and the Clinton Foundation concurrently. The Clintons have rejected his allegations.
Abedin continues to support Hillary Clinton in her campaign and is known to be a loyal, dedicated worker to the Democratic nominee for president.