Update: Diehl resigned Thursday afternoon.
Reminder to politicians: Sexting can get you into trouble.
Sexting a college freshman in an intern program at the state House you lead when you have a wife and family? That's an even worse idea. But that's exactly what Missouri state House Speaker John Diehl did. He has apologized.
This was all first reported by the Kansas City Star. The Star obtained screenshots of texts featuring flirtatious conversations between the intern and Diehl, who's served in local government since 2003, was elected to the state House in 2008, and this year became speaker. Nothing it published reaches Anthony Weiner levels of NSFW-ness, but it's enough that state Democrats and at least two Republicans have called for Diehl to resign, according to the Star. The revelations came after Missouri Southern State University ended its internship program at the state Capitol a month early, even as the university did not specify why it did so.
A sampling of the texting between Diehl and the intern follows.
Diehl: Once I start I don't stop [ kissing lips emoji ]
Intern: Oh good [ winking emoji ] didn't seem that way in your office
Diehl: Laying in bed looking at your pic [ smiling emoticon ]
Intern: Mmmm why can't I be there there [ smiling emoticon ]
Diehl: I was thinking abut what you said you wear to bed
Intern: Nothing [ winking emoji ]
One particularly interesting detail about the texts is that at one point, the woman's name for Diehl in her phone was "Frank Underwood" (in other screenshots, it's what appears to be a blurred phone number or "John"). For those still somehow unfamiliar, Underwood is Kevin Spacey's anti-hero politician character in "House of Cards," in which he engages in an affair with a reporter. And (spoiler alert) it doesn't end well.
In one conversation, they talk about Diehl sitting next to Jay [Nixon, the Democratic governor of Missouri, the Star believes]. In another, the woman texted "you'll always be my favorite speaker of the house [kissing emoji ]."
It's a tale as old as time. Politicians, with cool(ish) jobs, prestigious titles, and access to power impress an younger admirer, get into unwise relationships with said admirer, and end up falling because of that relationship.
That hasn't changed. The difference: Now we have screenshots.