Jan 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver is seen speaking with the late Senator John McCain aboard a campaign plane.
John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged 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. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “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.”

The context: During the past week, several men have alleged on social media that Weaver sent them unsolicited and sexually suggestive messages, sometimes coupled with offers of employment or political advancement.

  • Last summer, the political strategist and media adviser took a medical leave of absence from the Lincoln Project, a high-dollar anti-Trump super PAC. He told Axios he will not be returning to the group. “The project's defense of the Republic and fight for democracy is vital,” he said.
  • Before the Lincoln Project, Weaver was a top adviser to leading Republicans including John McCain and John Kasich. Amid Donald Trump’s political ascendance, he became one of the most prominent members of the so-called “Never Trump” movement.

While apologetic, Weaver attributed the emergence of the allegations to critics of him and the Lincoln Project.

  • “While I am taking full responsibility for the inappropriate messages and conversations,” Weaver wrote, “I want to state clearly that the other smears being leveled at me ... are categorically false and outrageous.”
  • A spokesman for the Lincoln Project said, "John's statement speaks for itself."

Editor's note: Updates to add link to statement, Weaver's most recent position.

Read John Weaver's statement:

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