Steve Schmidt, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, resigned from his post at the superPAC on Friday evening due to a sexual misconduct scandal involving another Lincoln Project co-founder — and he was part of a panel discussion on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” later that night. But those two things didn’t intersect, because Maher did not bring up the scandal at all during their discussion, or Schmidt’s resignation.
While he didn’t explicitly mention Schmidt’s resignation, when Maher introduced Schmidt to start the panel discussion he conspicuously referred to him as “founder of SES Strategies and an MSNBC contributor” with no mention of the Lincoln Project.
An MSNBC spokesperson, however, specified to TheWrap that Schmidt no longer contributes to MSNBC and hasn’t for a while.
And in Schmidt’s resignation letter, he mentioned the upcoming show: “I look forward to being on Real Time with Bill Maher tonight on HBO, and then to taking some much-needed time off.”
Even so, no mention at all was made during the segment of John Weaver, the Lincoln Project co-founder who has been accused of grooming underage men, and sending sexually explicit material to them. Weaver is reportedly under investigation by the FBI.
Though there was a moment, midway through the panel — DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas was the other guest on the panel — in which Maher seemed like he might be opening the door to a discussion of the Lincoln Project’s woes.
But that discussion didn’t materialize then or at any other point in Maher’s 30-minute panel discussion.
I read this week that the Georgia Senate election, which of course was the crucial one, but it cost eight — I can’t believe this number — $833 billion,” Maher said.
“There’s a lot of money splashing around in politics. I know you’ve had a rough week with this. You can say whatever you want here. I’m not here to prosecute you. AOC said Lincoln project — that’s your project which ran a lot of great ads. liberals loved those ads — she says you were in scam territory.”
Schmidt responded with a rather straightforward defense of the Lincoln Project as a whole.
“Look, I think that we built the most successful superPAC in American political history. We turned it into a movement, and I think we did tremendous damage to Donald Trump,” Schmidt said. And that was about as far as that thread went.