On paper, Eric Greitens checks all the boxes to be considered a conservative hero. He was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford, a Navy SEAL who led an Al-Qaeda targeting cell, and a former Democrat who switched to the Republican side later in life. But now the Missouri governor is being accused of some pretty heinous stuff.
It all started with a months-long investigation in which reporters obtained audio of a woman saying she had sex with Gov. Greitens, and that he tried to blackmail her to keep her quiet. The recording came from the unnamed woman’s ex-husband, who said the affair took place in March of 2015.
In the recording, the woman says Greitens, a Jewish conservative who billed himself as a family man and touted ethics reform during his campaign, taped her up and blindfolded her so he could take humiliating photos to use as blackmail.
Woman: “He said: “I’ll make you feel better. I’ll make you feel good. Come downstairs. I want to show you how to do a proper pull-up. And I knew he was being sexual and I still let him. And he used some sort of tape, I don’t what it was, and taped my hands to these rings and then put a blindfold on me.”
She went on to say that some of his actions-scared her.
Woman: “I didn’t even know. I feel like I don’t even know. I was just numb. I just stood there and didn’t (expletive) know.”
She went on, describing what Greitens allegedly did next that made her feel sick.
Woman: “He stepped back, I saw a flash through the blindfold and he said: “you’re never going to mention my name, otherwise there will be pictures of me everywhere.”
The allegations are troubling, especially for a rising star in the Republican party, but in typical political fashion, he had his lawyer issue a statement denying them. Attorney James F. Bennett admitted the affair occurred but insisted “there was no ‘blackmail.’”
Statement from James F. Bennett, our attorney pic.twitter.com/l4VreENKRT
— Eric Greitens (@EricGreitens) January 11, 2018
“This personal matter has been addressed by the Governor and Mrs. Greitens privately years ago when it happened. The outrageous claims of improper conduct regarding these almost three-year-ago events are a lie.”
Let’s not forget this “personal matter” also involves the woman who said she was blackmailed and had no reason to lie because she was being secretly recorded. The timing of the event isn’t relevant either, despite Bennett’s repeated mention of the fact that it happened three years ago.
The Greitens also released a joint statement, and Mrs. Greitens released an additional statement of her own (but posted on her husband’s Twitter feed), all echoing the lawyer’s sentiments. They all stressed the unimportant detail about how the affair occurred years ago, and that they’ve dealt with it, without getting into the more damning details of the allegations.
The question now is whether there’s any truth to the blackmail claims, if that occurred with any other women, and if Republicans in the state will do anything as a result of the allegations. (One GOP state senator tweeted last night, “Stick a fork in him.”)
I suppose it’s a break from the typical routine to see a Jewish conservative family man in trouble for an extra-marital affair as opposed to a Christian one, but a hypocrite is a hypocrite, and we shouldn’t forget that the real victim in this story is the one whose name we don’t know.
(Image via Shutterstock)