George Conway, cofounder of the Never Trump Lincoln Project, and Kurt Bardella, a former senior adviser to the embattled organization, have publicly called to shut down the operation because of continued fallout over allegations of cofounder John Weaver preying upon young men, including minors, and subsequent reports that some of the super PAC’s leaders knew of the allegations as early as March 2020.
Lincoln Project fallout continued on Monday following a report that leaders of the organization were aware of the damning sexual harassment allegations against Weaver as early as March. That prompted Kurt Bardella, who served as the organization’s senior adviser, to “shut it down already.”
“It’s over,” he declared:
Just shut it down already … it’s over. https://t.co/esaNANQLgM
— Kurt Bardella (@kurtbardella) February 16, 2021
Even George Conway, a cofounder of the left-wing Super PAC and vehement Never Trumper, agreed with the call to shut the organization down.
“It’s a shame, and we shouldn’t forget the hard work of so many people and the positive things the organization did, but yes, I think this is right,” he said:
It's a shame, and we shouldn't forget the hard work of so many people and the positive things the organization did, but yes, I think this is right. https://t.co/To9dKcrigm
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) February 16, 2021
Cofounder Reed Galen responded to the report of leadership knowing of the allegations against Weaver as early as March and said they remain “committed to creating a positive, diverse, and inclusive workplace environment at The Lincoln Project and inappropriate behavior by anyone associated with the organization will not be tolerated under any circumstances.”
“We have already taken decisive action to address internal concerns,” Galen told The 19th in a statement Tuesday.
Weaver had already been accused of sending provocative messages to dozens of men, offering counsel in exchange for “sensual” favors. One of the victims said he began receiving messages when he was 14 years old.
On Monday, journalist Ryan Girdusky, who broke the original story, appeared on Fox News and announced that he “made contact with another minor who was sexually harassed by John Weaver.”
“He is still a minor today … John Weaver aggressively sexually harassed him,” he said, explaining that the allegations involving minors, specifically, are “now multiple” and adding that more are “possibly” more forthcoming.
Cofounder Steve Schmidt, who has maintained that he was unaware of the allegations against Weaver, resigned from the Lincoln Project last week and used the opportunity to claim that he was sexually abused by a man when he was a minor.
“This is my truth,” Schmidt said. “John Weaver has put me back into that faraway cabin with Ray, my Boy Scout leader.”
“Presently, the Lincoln Project is made up of four middle-aged white men. That composition doesn’t reflect our nation, nor our movement,” he said, framing his departure as an opportunity to further diversity within the organization.
“I am resigning my seat on the Lincoln Project board to make room for the appointment of a female board member as the first step to reform and professionalize the Lincoln Project,” he added.
An open letter from a group of anonymous “employees and associates of the Lincoln Project” stated that they “shared a ‘reasonable fear of retaliation’ from Schmidt and other organizational executives if they publicly identify themselves in connection with their allegations of Weaver’s sexual solicitations,” as Breitbart News reported. They also accused Schmidt of leading the public smear campaign against Lincoln Project cofounder Jennifer Horn, who resigned from the organization in early February. She attributed her leave, in part, to the “grotesque and inappropriate behavior” of Weaver.
While branding itself as an organization devoted to the preservation of original Republican Party values, the Lincoln Project spent its political advertising budget aiding Democrats.