A co-founder of The Lincoln Project is being accused of sending unwanted messages to young men, pressuring them for sexual favors in exchange for jobs and career advice, according to a new report.
John Weaver, who worked for various national Republican candidates such as the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSouth Carolina GOP votes to censure Rep. Rice over impeachment vote Leaving the GOP After 46 years and feeling ‘politically homeless’ Legislators go after governors to rein in COVID-19 powers MORE (R-Ariz.) and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, has been accused by nearly two dozen men who said they received suggestive messages from Weaver, with one saying the messages began when he was 14 years old, The New York Times reported.
The Times reported that Weaver in one message told one of the young men he would “spoil you when we see each other.”
“Help you other times. Give advice, counsel, help with bills. You help me … sensually,” Weaver reportedly added.
Leaders of The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican group, told the Times they were made aware of the allegations against Weaver only when they began circulating on social media and elsewhere in news reports.
“There was no awareness or insinuations of any type of inappropriate behavior when we became aware of the chatter at the time,” co-founder Steve Schmidt told the newspaper. Schmidt said Weaver denied the allegations when first confronted by the organization’s leadership.
In a statement on Sunday, The Lincoln Project called Weaver “a predator, a liar, and an abuser.”
“John Weaver led a secret life that was built on a foundation of deception at every level,” it said. “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.”
The Lincoln Project said the details of the allegations, as they were reported by the Times on Sunday, were “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,” the statement added. “We are grateful beyond words that at no time was John Weaver in the physical presence of any member of The Lincoln Project.”
The Lincoln Project today released the following statement. pic.twitter.com/k9QkUsiFO5
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) January 31, 2021
Weaver earlier this month first acknowledged sending what he called “inappropriate” sexual messages to young men.
“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 on Jan. 15. “They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you.”
Revealing he is gay, Weaver said: “I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”