The Lincoln Project condemns co-founder John Weaver after allegations of sexual misconduct towards young men

john weaver
John McCain (L) looks over some documents with then-campaign advisor John Weaver (R) while flying from Virginia Beach to Bismarck, North Dakota on February 28, 2000.

The Lincoln Project condemned its co-founder John Weaver after 21 men alleged he sent them unsolicited sexual overtures online. 

“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 behavior,” the group said in a statement.

The New York Times reported f Sunday that 21 men have alleged Weaver sent them unsolicited and sexually provocative messages, including at one point to a 14-year-old boy. He sent overt sexual solicitations to at least 10 of the men over a period of years.

Weaver allegedly asked Cole Trickle Miele about his body when he was 14, but asked more direct questions after he turned 18. 

Miele had followed Weaver on Twitter in 2015 and immediately got a private message from him but didn’t think anything was strange about the situation. 

“I remember being a 14-year-old kid interested in politics and being semi-starstruck by John Weaver engaging in a conversation with me,” Miele told the Times. 

None of the men accused him of unlawful conduct. The messages led to just one consensual encounter, the Times reported. 

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Weaver also offered professional help in exchange for sex, telling one man he would “spoil you when we see each other,” the Times reported. 

“Help you other times. Give advice, counsel, help with bills. You help me…sensually,” Weaver allegedly wrote. 

Weaver was a former advisor to the late Senator John McCain and in 2019 co-founded The Lincoln Project, a group of GOP operatives who opposed former President Donald Trump. They achieved notoriety last year for campaigning against Trump and his allies, with billboards in New York City mocking Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

Earlier this month, Axios reported that men had accused Weaver of sending inappropriate messages. 

At the time, Weaver told Axios: “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.” 

“The truth is that I’m gay,” Weaver 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.”

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Weaver took a “medical leave of absence” from the group last summer and “will not be returning to the group,” Axios said earlier this month. 

In their statement, The Lincoln Project said it was grateful 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 said. “We are grateful beyond words that at no time was John Weaver in the physical presence of any member of The Lincoln Project.”

However, Ryan Girdusky, a writer for  The American Conservative who first reported on the allegations on January 11, told The Washington Post that the group’s statement was false and The Lincoln Project has known about the allegations since last year. 

The Lincoln Project did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Co-founder Steve Schmidt told the Times that the group was aware Weaver could be having relationships with men. However, he said: “There was no awareness or insinuations of any type of inappropriate behavior when we became aware of the chatter at the time.”

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