John Weaver, a former adviser to the late GOP senator John McCain, helped set up the Lincoln Project in 2019
Moderate conservative campaign group the Lincoln Project has denounced its founder, John Weaver, after he faced sexual harassment allegations from 21 men.
Weaver, a former adviser to the late GOP senator John McCain, helped set up the Lincoln Project in 2019 – with the group’s videos challenging an extremist drift in the Republican Party quickly earning viral success ahead of the presidential election.
The veteran strategist, who has a wife and children, resigned last month and came out as gay after he was accused of dangling his political connections and access to high-profile job opportunities “in an attempt to receive sexual favours” from young men.
Two weeks after his resignation, a New York Times report has detailed allegations from 21 young men against Weaver, who is alleged to have sent unsolicited and sexually provocative messages in which he offered professional and personal assistance in exchange for sex.
John Weaver allegedly wanted sex in exchange for political favours
He told one man: “[I will] help you other times. Give advice, counsel, help with bills. You help me … sensually.”
According to the newspaper, one of the recipients was still in high school and underage when the 61-year-old Weaver began messaging him. On at least two occasions, he offered men work on the Lincoln Project.
The newspaper stressed that the messages “did not lead to physical encounters except in one consensual case, and none of the men accused Mr. Weaver of unlawful conduct.”
Weaver told the New York Times: “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.
“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.”
Lincoln Project denounces founder as a ‘liar and abuser’
Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt said that while the PAC’s leaders were aware Weaver had same-sex relationships, there was “no awareness or insinuations” of inappropriate behaviour.
In a statement, the Lincoln Project made clear: “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.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to those who were targeted by his deplorable and predatory behaviour. We are disgusted and outraged that someone in a position of power and trust would use it for these means.
“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.
“We are grateful beyond words that at no time was John Weaver in the physical presence of any member of The Lincoln Project.”