John Weaver, one of the co-founders of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, has issued an apology to several young men he sent unsolicited and often sexually-charged messages over the years.
Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that 21 men admitted they’ve received unsolicited sexual messages from Weaver, 61, who is married to a woman and has two children.
The Times story follows an earlier report by Axios on January 15 where Weaver issued a statement admitting to sending “inappropriate” messages to “multiple men.”
“To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry,” read the apology. “They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you.”
“The truth is that I’m gay,” he added. “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.”
In his statement, he added that he took a “medical leave of absence” from the Lincoln Project last summer and “will not be returning to the organization” after his recovery.
At the time, a spokesman for the Lincoln Project told Axios, “John’s statement speaks for itself.”
Today, Steve Schmidt, a co-founder of the group, said the group learned last summer that Weaver might be involved in some kind of relationships with men, but stressed, “There was no awareness or insinuations of any type of inappropriate behavior when we became aware of the chatter at the time.”
Schmidt also said Weaver denied the allegations when asked about them.
On Sunday, the Lincoln Project called Weaver out in no uncertain terms tweeting, “John Weaver led a secret life that was built on a foundation of deception at every level.”
“He is a predator, a liar, and an abuser,” continued the statement. “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 statement makes a point to add that none of the members were ever in the physical presence of Weaver during the Lincoln Project.
The Lincoln Project today released the following statement. pic.twitter.com/k9QkUsiFO5
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) January 31, 2021
Although Weaver said in his statement he believed the communications were ‘consensual,’ two of the 21 men interviewed for the Times piece characterized the messages as ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘kind of sketchy.’
Anthony Covell, 22, said he first received messages from Weaver in July 2019. Weeks before the launch of the Lincoln Project, Weaver reached out inviting him to be a part of the initiative.
At first Covell says he was “interested,” but then Weaver reportedly asked him to “send me a pic” and “post a thirst trap.” Weaver then asked Covell to call him.
Covell told the Times, “Something inside me was saying, ‘No, don’t do this, he seems kind of sketchy.’”
Covell never made the call.
As a recent college graduate, Cody Bralts was looking for a position in politics last year. After replying to one of Weaver’s tweets, he was surprised to receive a direct message from the veteran political consultant.
Chit chat back and forth eventually led Weaver to ask what Bralts did in his spare time. Bralts said he runs marathons. Weaver shot back, “At least I know that whatever we end up doing, you could do multiple times in a row,” followed by a wink emoji.
Bralts shared with the Times that, for someone who he viewed as ‘very important and high up’ in a field he wanted to work in, “It just seemed like he was exploiting his power.”
Cole Trickle Miele was a 14-year-old interested in politics when he first received a direct message on Twitter from Weaver in 2015. Miele said he was ‘starstruck’ when he got the message. But as the communication continued, he became uncomfortable.
In March 2020, after Miele had turned 18, Weaver reached out to invite the teen to Las Vegas saying he wanted to take him to “dinner and drinks” and “spoil” him.
The chat eventually turned to Weaver asking Miele to “resend me your stats! or I can guess! if that is easier or more fun!”
After more and more allegations surfaced, Weaver issued a second apology echoing the first.
“I am so disheartened and sad that I may have brought discomfort to anyone in what I thought at the time were mutually consensual discussions,” wrote Weaver. “In living a deeply closeted life, I allowed my pain to cause pain for others. For that I am truly sorry to these men and everyone and for letting so many people down.”