Did the principals at The Lincoln Project really think this was going to fly? The vocal anti-Trump group, which has morphed into what appears to be a straight-up anti-Republican operative shop, has hit a public relations iceberg. Their co-founder, John Weaver, was allegedly a total creeper.
The American Conservative had it first, but it seems Mr. Weaver indeed had a secret life, which led to highly inappropriate exchanges with over a dozen men. Beth wrote about the latest development, which was published in The New York 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.”
21 men told me John Weaver, a Lincoln Project cofounder, sent them inappropriate messages, including explicit offers of professional help in exchange for sex. 11 of them spoke on the record — far more than I could detail in one article. w/ @dannyhakim https://t.co/agnfQZubW5— Maggie Astor (@MaggieAstor) January 31, 2021
It's crazy that the Lincoln Project thought they were Major League talent when one of their founders was playing in the minors— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) February 1, 2021
Again, Weaver was the co-founder of this group. It’s hard to get positive coverage, raise money, or get clients if you have a reported sexual predator on staff. That’s why Weaver’s page on The Lincoln Project website was subjected to the Joseph Stalin treatment in the sense that he was totally purged. Weaver also said that he would not be returning to The Lincoln Project. Yeah, that’s a given, sir. You’re not going to be able to stay anywhere when you allegedly offer job opportunities for sex.
It's a miracle how none of these guys claim to know THEIR CO-FOUNDER very well.— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) February 1, 2021
Just some guy they talked to once or twice on the phone. https://t.co/Z7f4MKTTxW
Conway claimed months ago to have stepped away from @ProjectLincoln. Why is @morningmika having him offer comment? So that she and @JoeNBC can sweep it under the rug and keep this execrable crew, which their show helped create, on air. In other words, typical 30 Rock behavior. https://t.co/RaaanT4nmo— Luke Thompson (@ltthompso) February 1, 2021
Long overdue mashup: "We had no idea John Weaver was a total scumbag," starring @ProjectLincoln and perennial favorites @kasie @jheil @NicolleDWallace @ananavarro @maddow. https://t.co/1xv113gXhV pic.twitter.com/eVEF8stCJa— Watchdog (@demswatchdog) January 31, 2021
So, what has happened since this fiasco engulfed the group? Well, the “I know nothing” pivots came out. No, seriously, we have George Conway pretty much saying he didn’t know this guy; he only spoke to him a few times on the phone or something. It’s frankly just unbelievable. Oh, and this statement, which was also mocked and filed under "who are you kidding?" The last sentence especially was…just read it [emphasis mine]:
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."
not sure why anyone should believe a word of this https://t.co/Qcob34itj6— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) January 31, 2021
The highlighted sentence is actually real. The Lincoln Project are the junior high version of Mean Girls. https://t.co/42tpmU1Rbx— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) January 31, 2021
Lol wut pic.twitter.com/A2ffq7yq5U— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) January 31, 2021
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
What a mess, but one that will probably not get the attention it deserves due to the group’s anti-Trump and anti-GOP advocacy. Need I say more about the media reaction if this were a conservative group being caught with a sexual predator on the executive staff?
Two separate rules.