This is so sad.

Courtesy of NYT:

The mayor of Anchorage, Ethan Berkowitz, resigned on Tuesday, one day after admitting that he had engaged in an “inappropriate” relationship with a local news anchor, the latest development in a roiling political drama that began when the reporter claimed there were graphic personal photos of the mayor on an “underage girl’s website.”

“It is with profound sadness and humility that I resign as mayor of the municipality of Anchorage,” Mr. Berkowitz said in a statement read to the Anchorage Assembly by his chief of staff, Jason Bockenstedt. Many residents in the crowd, some of whom gathered to object to restrictions that the city has introduced to control the coronavirus, immediately burst into cheers, standing and clapping.

“My resignation results from unacceptable personal conduct that has compromised my ability to perform my duties with the focus and trust that is required,” the statement said. The resignation is to take effect at the end of next week.

Mr. Berkowitz’s resignation followed an unsubstantiated claim posted to social media on Friday by the news anchor, Maria Athens, promising viewers an “exclusive” story set to air on upcoming newscasts. Mr. Berkowitz responded by calling the allegations “slanderous” and false, and Ms. Athens shot back by posting what she said was an image of the mayor’s bare backside, with a laughing emoji.

But as political leaders in Anchorage lined up to defend Mr. Berkowitz, the mayor came forward on Monday with an admission: He and Ms. Athens had previously engaged in a “consensual, inappropriate messaging relationship.”

“I’m embarrassed and ashamed for the hurt I’ve caused my family and our community,” said Mr. Berkowitz, a former candidate for governor and longtime leader in the state’s Democratic political circles. “I take responsibility for my actions.”

There are so many twists and turns to this story that it could cause your brain to get whiplash.

The important takeaways are that this Maria Athens woman, who already apparently held a grudge against Berkowitz for an earlier relationship, received some false information about him from a woman whose daughter worked as an escort. 

That turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, but to substantiate her allegations Athens shared a photo of the mayor’s bare backside that he apparently sent her during their fling and claimed it was sent to an underage female. 

That revealed Ethan’s relationships with the reporter and the result was him stepping down as mayor of Anchorage. 

Now to truly understand how batshit crazy this reporter is, you have to listen to his voicemail she sent Berkowitz.

Yeah, that is not a person playing with a full deck of cards. 

The thing about this that really upsets me is that the decisions that Berkowitz made in response to the pandemic were excellent and it put him on track to win the governorship or a number of other political positions in the years ahead.  

But that’s all gone now, and he will have to walk away from public life under a cloud of scandal. 

I know that a number of you will point out that a Republican probably would have simply refused to step down and would have likely weathered the scandal and continued to pursue a life in politics. 

That is true, but Democrats hold themselves to a higher standard, and I really respect that about them.