One of The Lincoln Project's co-founders, John Weaver, stepped down from the Never Trump organization earlier this month after admitting that he sexually harassed young men and promised them a job in politics in exchange for sex. The New York Times did a bit of digging and talked to a few of Weaver's accusers, most notably, Cole Trickle Miele, who was 14 when Weaver allegedly harassed him.
From The Times:
Cole Trickle Miele was 14 when he followed Mr. Weaver on Twitter in 2015 and quickly received a direct message from him. At first, he did not think anything was amiss.
“I remember being a 14-year-old kid interested in politics and being semi-starstruck by John Weaver engaging in a conversation with me,” said Mr. Trickle Miele, now 19. At the time, he supported the Republican Party and was a fan of Mr. Kasich, the Ohio governor whom Mr. Weaver was helping prepare to join the presidential race.
But as the messages kept coming, he became uncomfortable.
In June 2018, Mr. Weaver asked, “Are you in HS still?” — referring to high school — and Mr. Trickle Miele said that he was, and that he would be 18 the next spring. “You look older,” Mr. Weaver replied. “You’ve gotten taller.”
In March 2020, when Mr. Trickle Miele was 18, Mr. Weaver wrote, “I want to come to Vegas and take you to dinner and drinks and spoil you!!,” and in a follow-up message used a term that in sexual banter refers to one’s body: “Hey my boy! resend me your stats! or I can guess! if that is easier or more fun!”
Mr. Weaver, in response to questions about specific allegations, reiterated his statement from earlier this month and said: “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.”
Other accusers shared similar stories about Weaver abusing his political connections in an attempt to get laid.
A recent college graduate, Cody Braits, said he replied to a tweet Weaver posted. Weaver ended up sliding into his direct messages, offering to meet with Braits to talk politics the next time he was in the area. When the two began to talk about what they do in their free time, Braits mentioned that he ran marathons. That's when things got odd.
“At least I know that whatever we end up doing, you could do it multiple times in a row,” Weaver allegedly replied with a winking emoticon.
“It just seemed like he was exploiting his power,” Baits told The Times. “He was someone very important and high up in a field I want to go into.”
Between 2016 and 2018, Weaver allegedly asked 23-year-old Kyle Allen about various details, including his height, weight, what he was wearing and whether or not he was circumcised. Allen claims Weaver repeatedly asked for a speaking invitation at the University of Ottawa, where Allen was going to school at the time.
“I would try to veer the conversations toward politics, and he would always find a way to bring it back to sexual stuff,” Allen told The Times.
Two more men accuse Weaver of offering them jobs with The Lincoln Project, but when he made the offer he used "suggestive messages."
One of the two men, 22-year-old Anthony Covell, said he messaged back and forth with Weaver in July of 2019. Those messages fizzled until Dec. 3, 2019, just a few weeks before The Lincoln Project was announced. At that time, Weaver allegedly offered Covell a job.
“He said he was looking for young people who were creative and invested in this upcoming election,” Covell recalled. “I was obviously interested.”
Weaver told Covell to “post a thirst trap” or “send me a pic" and then told Covell to call with more details about the job.
Covell said there was something "sketchy" about Weaver, which is why he never made the call.
The American Conservative, which broke the initial story, has screen captures of conversations reporter Ryan Girdusky had with the victims, which are similar to what The Times reported.
Once The Time's interviews came to light, The Lincoln Project released a statement, slamming Weaver's actions.
"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. We extend our deepest sympathies to those who were targeted by his deplorable and predatory behavior," the statement said. "We are disgusted and outraged that someone in a position of power and trust would use it for these means."
"The totality of his deceptions are beyond anything any of us could have imagined and we are absolutely shocked and sickened by it," the statement continued. "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."
Girdusky, however, said The Lincoln Project has changed their tune about the allegations.
When young men approached them they ignored it.— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) January 31, 2021
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.@ProjectLincoln lied. They knew. They’re complicit https://t.co/tDmJWVgweV