Lincoln Project disavows co-founder after reports he online solicited young men

Political News

Lincoln Project is disavowing their association with one of their co-founders.

It’s a far cry from their January 15th message saying “John [Weaver’s] statement speaks for itself,” after Weaver admitted to sending inappropriate messages and being gay. The tone change appears to be after The New York Times reported Weaver sent online solicitations to 21 young men for sex, including one who was 14(!) at the time. Via NYT:

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.”

The behavior was no secret, based on reporting from The American Conservative, Axios, and comments on Twitter. It may date back to the 1980s but The New Republic portrayed it in 2009 as Karl Rove stabbing a rival in the back and a “two-decade lie.” Texas politics is a bloodsport and Rove’s ruthlessness is well-known, however, Ryan Girdusky told The Washington Post there’s no way Weaver’s behavior was a real secret.

Girdusky went even further on Twitter accusing Lincoln Project of a cover-up.

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That’s…not a good look for Lincoln Project. Steven Schmidt and Rick Wilson have publicly expressed rage towards Weaver’s behavior on Twitter but framed it around criticism of Donald Trump. The others named in the claims are either Twitter silent or avoiding the topic entirely. On brand for Lincoln Project, apparently.

It’s anyone’s guess of what happens to the Lincoln Project. Let’s say everything’s true, and the PAC ignored the accusations so they could ‘focus’ on the 2020 election. Do lawsuits follow? Will their coffers dry up as donors abandon them for other PACs? Will whatever influence they may or may not have within America’s political landscape wan? These are questions facing Lincoln Project as it attempts to plot its future.

One thing worth noting is none of this would be public were it not for the decentralization of news. Forensic News, The American Conservative, and Axios deserve a heap of praise for their willingness to report on Weaver. This forced larger news outlets, like The New York Times and The Washington Post, to start investigations into Weaver and report their findings. It forced Lincoln Project and Weaver to admit their faults, even if their statements were wishy-washy. It shows the power of journalism and the importance of a wide variety of outlets reporting what’s going on. In a world where people suggest there be fewer outlets and fewer voices, this proves the opposite.

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