NEWS & ANALYSIS

‘PREDATOR, LIAR & ABUSER’: Did Lincoln Project know about co-founder’s sexual misconduct?


Over the weekend, the New York Times released a bombshell report detailing a history of alleged predatory behavior by the Lincoln Project’s co-founder John Weaver. 

The report featured interviews with 21 men who accused Weaver of sending “unsolicited and sexually provocative messages online to young men, often while suggesting he could help them get work in politics.” 

One of the alleged victims was only 14 years old. 

The anti-Trump GOP organization has been distancing itself from Weaver since Ryan Girdusky, a reporter for the American Conservative, first reported the allegations on January 11. Shortly thereafter, Weaver admitted the allegations were, in fact, true. 

Weaver issued this statement to the New York Times: “I am so disheartened and sad that I may have brought discomfort to anyone in what I thought at the time were mutually consensual discussions. In living a deeply closeted life, I allowed my pain to cause pain for others. For that I am truly sorry to these men and everyone and for letting so many people down.” 

Interestingly enough, Lincoln Project co-founder George Conway claims he barely knew Weaver in an MSNBC interview.

“It’s terrible and awful and appalling and unfathomable, I, I didn’t know John very well. I frankly only spoke to him a couple of times on the phone early on in the Lincoln Project. It’s almost, I don’t even know what to say. It’s just terrible,” Conway said. “It leaves me speechless, frankly.” 

But, in December of 2019, Weaver and Conway co-authored a New York Times op-ed called “We Are Republicans, and We Want Trump Defeated.” 

Keep this in mind as we continue to unravel this mess. 

In the wake of the scandal, the Lincoln Project condemned Weaver, calling him a “predator, a liar and an abuser.” 

“John Weaver led a secret life that was built on a foundation of deception at every level. He is a predator, a liar, and an abuser,” the statement reads. “We extend our deepest sympathies to those who were targeted by his deplorable and predatory behavior. We are disgusted and outraged that someone in a position of power and trust would use it for these means.” 

That’s not all: “The totality of his deceptions are beyond anything any of us could have imagined and we are absolutely shocked and sickened by it. Like so many, we have been betrayed and deceived by John Weaver. We are grateful beyond words that at no time was John Weaver in the physical presence of any member of the Lincoln Project.” 

Ryan Girdusky condemned the Lincoln Project, calling their response an “absolute lie.” 

“Members did know. Young men approached them about the accusations. Members knew I was writing the story and warned John Weaver,” he tweeted. “When young men approached them they ignored it. When they heard I was working on the story they warned Weaver. When I wrote a story they said nothing. When Axios published a story they said he’s just gay. Now he’s a predator.” 

https://twitter.com/ryangirdusky/status/1355926095565123586?s=10

Even republican strategist Karl Rove said he had been aware of allegations of sexual misconduct. 

What’s more, he know for more than 30 years! 

“I’ve actually known about this pattern of behavior since 1988,” Rove said on Fox News. “All I want to say is that those 21 statements from those 21 young men who talked about how they’ve been approached by Mr. Weaver, that statement speaks for itself and I don’t have anything to add to it. It’s a sad, sad chapter.” 

 

So, Karl Rove knew about this pattern since 1988, but the people at the Lincoln Project knew nothing about it until the story broke? 

Quite unlikely.