The Lincoln Project condemned co-founder and Republican strategist Jeff Weaver, calling him “a predator, a liar and an abuser” following a New York Times report in which he was accused by 21 men of sending unwanted sexually explicit messages.
“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.”
It goes on: “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.”
The anti-Trump GOP organization has been distancing itself from Weaver since Ryan Girdusky, a reporter for The American Conservative, first reported the allegations surrounding Weaver on Jan. 11. Four days later, Weaver admitted to Axios that he sent the unwanted messages. “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry,” Weaver said. “They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you.”
At the time Weaver made his admission, a spokesperson for The Lincoln Project said that Weaver’s statement “speaks for itself” and provided no further comment. The NY Times report that prompted today’s statement from the group provides further details into Weaver’s actions, including offers of professional advancement to teenage boys and younger men in exchange for sex. One accuser said that Weaver first contacted him when he was 14 and began sending more explicit messages as soon as he turned 18. Other accusers said that Weaver would ask invasive questions about their bodies in text message exchanges.
In response to the statement, Girdusky condemned the Lincoln Project, calling their response an “absolute lie” and accusing them of being complicit in covering up Weaver’s wrongdoing.
“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.”
The Lincoln Project today released the following statement. pic.twitter.com/k9QkUsiFO5
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) January 31, 2021