The Lincoln Project may have helped defeat Donald Trump; who knows? From the beginning it appeared to be a spiteful backlash by sore losers, class bigots and establishment bitter-enders who, like fellow Never-Trumpers George Will, the Bushes, Jennifer Rubin and Bill Kristol, made cutting of their noses to spite their faces into a declaration of virtue. Better to see the policies and principles one had spent a career opposing be inflicted on the nation for who-knows-how-long than to put up with a conservative President whom they couldn’t bear rubbing elbows with at a wine tasting.
The ethics of the Lincoln Project seemed shakier the more we learned about their founders and supporters. The most prominent of them, lawyer George Conway, felt it was acceptable to publicly insult and attack his wife Kellyanne Conway’s boss, for example, displaying the spousal concern and loyalty of a praying mantis. Not surprisingly, this public disloyalty combined with absentee parenting tore the family apart, leading to the Conway’s teenage daughter publicly insulting both parents and playing out her emotional crisis on social media. This, in turn, resulted in both Conways removing themself from political life in the middle of the campaign when they were needed most by their respective warring GOP factions. Good job!
Ah, but as Al Jolson liked to say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” The Lincoln Project’s leaders, who supposedly objected to Donald Trump because of his deficits of character, soon entered the Pot-Calling-The-Kettle-Black Masters in ethics hypocrisy.
First: John Weaver,a co-founder of the Lincoln Project, was accused by 21 men of sexually harassing them for years with unsolicited and sexually provocative online messages. His creepy solicitations included those he sent to a 14-year-old boy, asking salacious questions about his body while he was still in high school, then more suggestive comments after he turned 18.Weaver, who is married and has children, sent overt sexual solicitations to at least ten of the men, offering professional and personal assistance in exchange for sex. Last month, Weaver admitted his “inappropriate contacts” while playing the “deeply closeted” gay man card, and announced that he would not return to the Lincoln Project. Weaver had helped run Trump-Hater John McCain’s Presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2008 and Never Trumper John Kasich’s campaign in 2016.
Second: Rick Wilson, another key Lincoln Project leader, condemned Weaver, his business partner, in the strongest possible terms, saying that he had no idea that he was leading a double life. The group also dispatched George Conway–apparently taking a break from investigating why a nude photo of his daughter was posted online from his wife’s account– to MSNBC to declare he “didn’t know John very well” despite going into business with him. That’s not very responsible, if true, which it probably isn’t. Wilson said, “We’re an organization that believes in accountability. We are going to hold ourselves accountable for letting someone like this slip past the gates and it will never happen again.”
Nobody here in Washington, D.C. believes that the Lincoln Project buddies didn’t know about Weaver’s hobby. The feigned shock is reminiscent of Democrats and Hollywood figures professing that they had no idea that Harvey Weinstein was a sexual predator. Journalist Ryan Girdusky told Hill.TV last week that the accusations against Weaver were well known before major media outlets reported them. Apparently reporterswas willing to impugn the Lincoln Project until the election was over. The accusations were “not a well-kept secret” the journalist said.
While only—“only”— 21 of Weaver’s targets came forward to the New York Times, Girdusky said he spoke to more than 30 for his story in January. “It was probably close to 100 young men in a five-year period,” Girdusky said. “This is not a small group, this is not like he was trying to hide what was going on, and it was very much in plain sight for everyone to see.” But those working with Weaver in the Lincoln Project didn’t see it, they say, and were shocked–shocked!—that he was a gay sexual predator? Right. “I know for a fact, for three weeks after my story came out, they said nothing about him being a predator,” Girdusky said. “They didn’t say anything for three weeks.”
Third, Karl Rove, a member of the Bush branch of GOP Trump-Haters, revealed on Fox News last week that he had been aware of allegations of sexual impropriety against The Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver for more than 30 years. Wait, WHAT? Rove knew the guy was sexually harassing and grooming teens for three decades and took no action to stop him and protect future victims? Nice. See, there’s the kind of ethical conservatives America needs.
But wait! There’s more!
Fourth! Jennifer Horn, yet another “Never Trump” GOP operative who found the President venal, dishonest and lacking moral fiber, and who also co-founded the Lincoln Project, announced that she was quitting the organization in disgust over Weaver’s conduct. “John Weaver’s grotesque and inappropriate behavior, coupled with his longstanding deceptions concerning that behavior, are sickening,” she told The New York Times. “It is clear at this point that my views about how the Lincoln Project’s efforts are managed, and the best way to move the Lincoln Project forward into the future in the wake of these awful events, have diverged.”
Except, as the Lincoln Project quickly revealed, this was grandstanding and cover story. Horn had demanded the group give her “an immediate ‘signing bonus’ payment of $250,000 and a $40,000 per month consulting contract,” the organization said in a statement posted to Twitter. She also “demanded a board seat on the Lincoln Project, a television show, a podcast hosting assignment, and a staff to manage these endeavors. When her demands were turned down, she quit, blaming the Weaver scandal.
Just think: these are the people the news media regards as the good Republicans!