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Lincoln Project leaders ‘disgusted and outraged’ after 21 men accused co-founder of sexual harassment

John Weaver previously advised prominent Republicans like John McCain and John Kasich

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Sunday 31 January 2021 19:21 GMT
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The Lincoln Project, the prominent anti-Trump group of Republicans known for its biting political ads, said on Sunday they were “disgusted and outraged” that John Weaver, one of their co-founders, had allegedly sexually harassed numerous men online.

“John Weaver led a secret life that was built on a foundation of deception at every level,” it said in a statement on Sunday. “He is a predator, a liar, and an abuser. We extend our deepest sympathies to those who were targeted by his deplorable and predatory behavior.”

The New York Times reported that Weaver, a prominent “Never Trump” Republican who previously advised GOP heavyweights like John McCain and John Kasich, sent unwanted, sexually suggestive messages to more than 20 men online, sometimes with offers of employment or political advancement.  

“To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver told Axios in mid-January.

“The truth is that I'm gay,” he added at the time. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

The Independent attempted to reach Weaver for comment but was unable to make contact. 

Weaver left the group on medical leave last summer, and said he will not be returning to the organization. 

Some allegations against Weaver went public earlier this month in an article in The American Conservative, in which it was claimed that Weaver was “grooming young men" by sending supportive messages that veered into unwanted sexual territory.

Accord to the Times report, this pattern continued numerous times, including messages Weaver allegedly sent to a boy beginning when he was 14, which got explicit once he turned 18. 

Steve Schmidt, another co-founder, told the Times the group’s leaders were aware their colleague might be in relationships with men, which Weaver denied at the time, but didn’t know they were inappropriate. 

“There was no awareness or insinuations of any type of inappropriate behavior when we became aware of the chatter at the time," Schmidt said. 

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