On Wednesday, the Kansas City Star revealed that House Speaker John Diehl (R) had carried on a relationship with a college freshman interning at the Capitol. Diehl, arguably Missouri’s second-most-powerful politician, and the intern had exchanged flirtatious texts hinting at late-night rendezvous. In her phone, the unnamed intern listed Diehl under the pseudonym “Frank Underwood,” the suave schemer from “House of Cards.”
The comparison is apt, at least to a point. Like Underwood, Diehl appears to have fallen for a daringly ambitious young woman. The 49-year-old father of three texted her pics of him in a suit on business trips to Europe. She sent him snaps of her in a bikini. He nonchalantly name-dropped the U.S. ambassador. She coquettishly called him “Mr. Speaker.”
“God I want you right now,” he wrote.
“I wish you could have me right now,” she replied.
“Damn. We need a lot of time and [a] quiet room,” Diehl wrote.
“That sounds amazing,” she said.
“Will have my way with you.”
“Soon enough,” she answered, adding a smiley face blowing a kiss.
But for all the sexual intrigue, this script would have wound up on a Hollywood cutting room floor. Compared to other political controversies — Arnold Schwarzenegger fathering a lovechild with his maid while in office, Anthony Weiner’s compulsive crotch close-ups, Mark Sanford secretly running off to Argentina while supposedly “hiking on the Appalachian Trail,” or pretty much anything John Edwards ever did — Diehl’s dalliances don’t really rise to the level of a proper scandal.
Next to photos of a politician’s private parts like in North Dakota, Diehl’s demure texts are downright boring.
“You better take care of me,” the intern wrote.
“Like how?” the lawmaker replied.
“I’ll bet you’ll figure it out.”
“I dunno,” he answered. “You have always been disappointed;)”
After he humble-bragged about introducing the U.S. ambassador, she told him she wanted to hear him speak sometime. So what did Diehl do?
“Ahhhh. Boring,” he wrote. “I don’t like it.”
Even still, she served him a softball, responding “I’ll be a one on one for you any time then :)”
But Diehl just bunted. “Perfect,” he wrote. “Ttyl.”
The biggest difference between Diehl and Underwood, however, is simply that the Missouri politician got caught.
“I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down,” Diehl said in a statement. “I apologize for the poor judgment I displayed that put me and those closest to me in this situation. I also regret that the woman has been dragged into this situation. The buck stops here. I ask for forgiveness.”
Said Frank Underwood: never.