The Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans who opposed former president Donald Trump, rose to prominence last year as they campaigned against Trump and others who supported him. Weaver, 61, helped co-found the group. Weaver previously worked on the presidential campaigns for John McCain and John Kasich.
The New York Times published a report Sunday morning based on interviews with 21 men who alleged that Weaver sent them unwanted provocative messages or solicited them for sex, often in exchange for the promise of professional help.
Weaver did not respond to a request for comment Sunday. Two weeks ago, he acknowledged the “inappropriate” messages in a statement to Axios and apologized, saying he had been closeted.
“The truth is that I’m gay. 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,” Weaver said in his statement then. “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you.”
Weaver has been on a medical leave of absence from the Lincoln Project since last summer and said he would not return to the organization.
On Sunday, the Lincoln Project noted that Weaver was never around other members.
“The totality of his deceptions are beyond anything any of us could have imagined and we are absolutely shocked and sickened by it. Like so many, we have been betrayed and deceived by John Weaver,” the group’s statement said. “We are grateful beyond words that at no time was John Weaver in the physical presence of any member of The Lincoln Project.”
On Twitter Sunday, Girdusky — who broke the story earlier this month — blasted the Lincoln Project’s statement as false, saying the group had been made aware of the allegations when he was reporting them out last year.
Girdusky, who has also worked as a political consultant for about 15 years, told The Washington Post that Weaver’s past was like a “worst-kept secret” and that several men reached out to him after Weaver followed him on Twitter last May.
“Three young men DMed me and said, ‘Please be careful, this is what he did to me,’ and sent me their DMs with John Weaver,” Girdusky said.
Girdusky said several of the men who told him privately about Weaver’s behavior had also contacted Lincoln Project members as recently as last August “and it was ignored across the board.”
Steve Schmidt, a co-founder of the group, told the New York Times that they had heard “chatter” last summer Weaver could be in relationships with men, but denied they knew it was inappropriate.
“There was no awareness or insinuations of any type of inappropriate behavior when we became aware of the chatter at the time,” Schmidt told the Times.