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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:

Go deeper

GOP Sen. Ben Sasse to introduce bill offering signing bonuses to new hires

Sen. Ben Sasse. Photo: Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) plans to introduce legislation granting signing bonuses to new hires, he announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The bonuses would replace expanded unemployment benefits and are aimed at boosting employment. Sasse called numbers in the latest jobs report "crummy."

Prosecutor to seek hate crime charges, death penalty in Atlanta shootings

In Hopkinton, Mass., the Rally & Run To Stop Asian Hate is held to show solidarity in the wake of deadly Atlanta shootings and to mourn the loss of eight lives including six Asian women. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Prosecutors unveiled murder charges against the white man accused of shooting and killing eight people, six of whom were Asian women, at Atlanta-area spas,.AP reports.

Driving the news: A prosecutor filed notice that she plans to seek hate crime charges and the death penalty in the case.

3 hours ago - Health

Study: Over 99% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were not vaccinated

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday released a study showing that 99.75% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 between Jan. 1 and April 13 were not fully vaccinated, according to data provided to Axios.

Why it matters: Real-world evidence continues to show coronavirus vaccines are effective at keeping people from dying and out of hospitals. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been found to be 95% and 94% effective, respectively, at preventing symptomatic infections.