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Steve Schmidt Resigns From The Lincoln Project, Releases Statement Claiming He Was Molested At 13

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MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Steve Schmidt, GOP Strategist, appears on "Meet the Press" in Washington, D.C., Sunday, June 15, 2014.
William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Steve Schmidt, a GOP political operative and co-founder of The Lincoln Project, released a statement Friday claiming he was molested as a teenage Boy Scout. This came after news broke about his resignation from the anti-Trump organization.

Schmidt’s resignation is the latest consequence of the numerous allegations against Schmidt’s fellow co-founder John Weaver, who allegedly exhibited sexually predatory behavior toward young men in exchange for career advancement, according to Axios.

One of the boys to whom Weaver reportedly spoke was only 14 years old at the time, according to one of the 21 alleged victims interviewed by The New York Times.

The super PAC, which The Associated Press reported paid most of the $90 million it raised to consulting firms with ties to the group’s founders and senior staff, has been hemorrhaging employees since the accusations against Weaver went public.

The Lincoln Project spokesperson Kurt Bardella, video series host Nayyera Haq, and columnist Tom Nichols also resigned Friday.

“It was just a touch — a light one — and it lasted for only a moment,” Schmidt began in a lengthy statement given to journalist Miranda Green. Schmidt went on to recount in detail how, when he was a 13-year-old Boy Scout, a camp medic named Ray allegedly molested him.

Schmidt went on to claim his experience “immolated” his Catholic faith, especially since he claimed it was disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to whom he reached out to tell his story.

“A touch on a table at age 13 that lasted seconds has been a defining event in my life,” Schmidt wrote. “It never went away. That moment bequeathed me the three companions of my life that are always close and often present: anger, shame and depression.”

Schmidt went on to use his own experience as a springboard to comment on the allegations against Weaver.

“I met a man for the first time in my life in late 2006,” wrote Schmidt. “His name was John Weaver. I met him at a fundraiser for Arnold Schwarzenegger where John McCain was the headliner at the end of the 2006 campaign. I arrived at that event with Arnold and I left with McCain. Within months, under Weaver’s leadership the campaign had collapsed and was bankrupt. During all the time I worked for John McCain I never heard a single person ever whisper that John Weaver was a predator.”

“I did not have a professional relationship with John Weaver again until December 2019,” he added.

Claiming he did not know about the allegations against Weaver until last month, Schmidt wrote, “My purpose in writing this isn’t to express what and when I knew about John Weaver, but how I feel about him, what he did and how many people he hurt. This is my truth. John Weaver has put me back into that faraway cabin with Ray, my Boy Scout leader. I am incandescently angry about it. I am angry because I know the damage that he caused to me, and I know the journey that lies ahead for every young man that trusted, feared and was abused by John Weaver.”

“I know the shame, the guilt, the doubt, the depression and anger that lies ahead. I know John Weaver will be a life-long companion for them in the way that Ray has been for me. I detest John Weaver in a way I can’t articulate. My heart breaks that young men felt unseen and unheard in an organization that I started. I am ashamed of it. I promise that we will release the full findings of what we discover through an independent investigation.”

Some journalists who have closely followed the Weaver story expressed skepticism regarding Schmidt’s statement.

Maggie Astor, a reporter with The New York Times, tweeted, “A former Lincoln Project employee tells me that Schmidt’s continued assertion that he didn’t know of John Weaver’s behavior until last month is false — he says he was in the room when Schmidt spoke about it in October.”

“Steve Schmidt says he found out about the allegations against John Weaver in January but doesn’t mention which January,” wrote Yashar Ali, reiterating Astor’s reporting. “A former Lincoln Project staffer tells me they were in a bar with Schmidt in Park City in late Oct when Schmidt admitted he was aware of Weaver’s scandals.”

Journalist Ryan Girdusky, who first broke the story about Weaver’s alleged misconduct for The American Conservative, was furious about Schmidt’s statement, tweeting that it made him want to “scream from the top of my f***ing lungs.”

“Intersectionality, the fight against fascism, admitting to being molested as a child… this has it all folks,” Girdusky added.

Related: ‘Deplorable And Predatory Behavior’: The Lincoln Project Condemns Cofounder After NYT Reports He Allegedly Sexually Harassed 14-Year-Old Boy

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