Lincoln Project Controversy: The Lincoln Project Collapses as A Result of Internal Strife and A Scandal!
As a result of probes and claims of inappropriate behaviour, prominent members of the anti-Trump super PAC have left the organisation.
Due to rising criticism of its treatment of sexual misconduct charges against one of its co-founders and the management of its finances, the anti-Trump political organisation The Lincoln Project crumbled on Friday evening.
Prominent political strategist and one of the organization’s initial co-founders Steve Schmidt left the organisation on Friday night, the latest in a series of defections. Schmidt released a lengthy statement in which he described his “incandescently outraged” reaction to the reports that former Lincoln Project head John Weaver had sent sexually graphic text messages to young males.
Schmidt remarked, “I despise John Weaver in a way I can’t express,” revealing his own childhood experiences of molestation. “It crushes my heart that young guys in a group I founded felt invisible and unheard. I’m embarrassed by it.
Senior adviser Kurt Bardella and Nayyera Haq, who only last week agreed to host an online programme for the group, both announced their departures on Friday. Professor and foreign affairs journalist Tom Nichols announced his resignation from an unpaid advisory role on Twitter. One of the organization’s higher-ups, Jennifer Horn, quit earlier this month due to dissatisfaction with the Lincoln Project’s response to the Weaver allegations.
Two other leaders, Ron Steslow and Mike Madrid quit in the middle of last month. Kellyanne Conway’s ex-husband George Conway, a Lincoln Project official, has also left the organisation.
The Lincoln Project, a group of current and former Republican strategists who are staunchly opposed to Trump, made a big splash in the 2020 race.
More than $87 million was donated to the group after they broadcast ads that were harshly critical of the former president and his supporters. A number of its high-ranking officials, including Florida-based operative Rick Wilson and Schmidt, started making frequent appearances on cable news programmes.
But the organization’s downfall has been fast. The New York Times reported on January 31 that over 20 men had accused Weaver, 61, of sexually harassing them through internet chats. Weaver worked as a top strategist for the late Arizona Senator John McCain and later on for former Ohio Gov.
John Kasich’s 2016 presidential candidacy. The Lincoln Project’s leadership’s knowledge of the allegations and subsequent actions in response to them came under increased scrutiny in the days that followed.
It was reported in the summer of 2020 that specific concerns regarding Weaver’s behaviour were made to supervisors, though Schmidt has denied these allegations. Schmidt claimed in his statement released on Friday night that he “heard about John Weaver’s wrongdoing with an underage lad this past January.”
Earlier this week, The Lincoln Project announced that it had hired a “best-in-class outside consultant to investigate Mr Weaver’s time with the organisation.”
Weaver, who is married to a wife and two children, has acknowledged sending “inappropriate” communications to males.
Then, on Thursday, the Associated Press discovered that more than half of the organization’s cash had been channelled to consulting firms that had been controlled by Lincoln Project officials — a significant sum that bolstered charges that leaders had benefited themselves.
To make matters worse, later in the day, the Lincoln Project’s Twitter account published screenshots of private online chats between Horn and Amanda Becker, a reporter for 19th News who had been working on a piece about the organization’s work culture.
Though the Lincoln Project eventually removed the screenshot, it had already caused a firestorm of criticism. Schmidt said in his statement, “it is my obligation as the senior leader to bear responsibility for the huge misjudgment to reveal” the texts, and he was sincere in his apology.
Many of the organisations that have helped finance the Lincoln Project are beginning to distance themselves. In October, at the height of the election, Lincoln Project received $1.9 million from Senate Majority PAC, the top Democratic outside group concentrating on Senate elections, and Majority Forward, an allied nonprofit. In pivotal contests for the Senate, like those in South Carolina and Maine, the Lincoln Project had aired ads attacking Republican candidates.
In light of the recent charges of harassment and other misdeeds by the Lincoln Project, Senate Majority PAC President J.B. Poersch issued a statement saying that his organisation would no longer collaborate with Lincoln Project.
A modest amount of Lincoln Project advertising in Senate campaign areas was supplemented in October by the 2020 Senate Majority Pac and Majority Forward, according to Poersch’s statement. Recent claims about Lincoln Project’s conduct are causing concern. SMP has decided not to collaborate with Lincoln Project in the future in light of these claims.