Anti-Trump group the Lincoln Challenge has hemorrhaged help in current weeks after greater than 20 males accused its co-founder John Weaver of sexual harassment in January.
Whereas some on the left have praised its leaders for a principled stand towards their former celebration, liberals and conservatives alike have criticized the group over its ways and motives. Some, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., have labeled it a scam PAC as a consequence of its funneling of liberal donor cash to distributors managed by the group’s founders and an total lack of return on funding.
Its major co-founders are lawyer George Conway, Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, political strategist Rick Wilson and Weaver, a political guide who labored on the late John McCain’s presidential campaigns. Now Conway, Schmidt and Wilson are going through questions on what they knew about Weaver’s conduct and when.
Here is a timeline of the Lincoln Challenge:
Dec. 17, 2019
Co-founders Conway, Schmidt, Weaver and Wilson penned an op-ed in The New York Occasions asserting their political motion committee on Dec. 17, 2019.
“Patriotism and the survival of our nation within the face of the crimes, corruption and corrosive nature of Donald Trump are the next calling than mere politics. As People, we should stem the injury he and his followers are doing to the rule of legislation, the Structure and the American character,” they wrote.
Different co-founders embody Jennifer Horn, former chairwoman of the New Hampshire Republican Occasion; Ron Steslow, a political strategist; Reed Galen, an alum of George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns; and Mike Madrid, a political strategist.
April 15, 2020
The Lincoln Challenge advisory board (Conway, Schmidt, Weaver and Galen) endorsed President Biden within the Democratic major on April 15, 2020.
“After we based the Lincoln Challenge, we did so with a transparent mission: to defeat President Trump in November,” they wrote in a Washington Submit op-ed. “Publicly supporting a Democratic nominee for president is a primary for all of us. We’re in extraordinary instances, and we’ve chosen to place nation over celebration — and former vice chairman Joe Biden is the candidate who we imagine will do the identical.”
Might 28, 2020
Romney 2012 presidential marketing campaign alum Stuart Stevens joined the Lincoln Challenge as an adviser on Might 28, 2020.
“It is a small tribe,” Stevens instructed the Washington Post. “I do not know George Conway in any respect. Our paths by no means crossed. … However this core group is principally folks I’ve recognized a technique or one other for a very long time.”
Wilson confirmed after the truth that the group was conscious in July that the New York Submit was trying into Weaver.
“In July of final yr, there have been rumors that the New York Submit was going to report out a narrative about John being up in guys’ [direct messages],” Wilson mentioned on the podcast. “And we heard about it as a result of the Trump marketing campaign was bragging about it, bragging that it was coming.”
Aug. 6, 2020
The Lincoln Challenge mentioned Weaver was having well being points on Aug. 6, 2020.
“We have now simply realized that Lincoln Challenge warrior, [John Weaver], has been admitted to the hospital after a cardiac downside. We ask that you simply please elevate up our buddy and brother John and his household in prayer,” the Lincoln Challenge wrote on its Twitter account on Aug. 6.
Weaver went on medical depart in the summertime of 2020 — across the time different members of the Lincoln Challenge became aware that journalists had been trying into his inappropriate on-line conduct.
Aug. 23, 2020
George Conway introduced he was leaving the Lincoln Challenge on Aug. 23, 2020, as drama between his spouse, Kellyanne Conway, and daughter, Claudia Conway, performed out on social media.
“So I am withdrawing from @ProjectLincoln to dedicate extra time to household issues. And I will be taking a Twitter hiatus. For sure, I proceed to help the Lincoln Challenge and its mission. Passionately,” he wrote on Twitter.
Aug. 24, 2020
Michael Steele, the primary Black chairman of the Republican Nationwide Committee, joined the Lincoln Challenge on Aug. 24, 2020.
Jan. 11, 2021
Creator Ryan Girdusky printed an article titled “The Lincoln Project’s Predator” detailing Weaver’s inappropriate messages to younger males on Jan. 11. One younger man, a school scholar, mentioned he had an uncomfortable cellphone name with Weaver, who he mentioned was dropping sexual innuendoes and gave the impression to be ingesting.
Jan. 15, 2021
Just a few days later, Weaver’s apology appeared in an Axios story.
“To the boys I made uncomfortable by way of my messages that I considered as consensual mutual conversations on the time: I’m actually sorry,” Weaver mentioned in an announcement. “They had been inappropriate and it was due to my failings that this discomfort was introduced on you.
“The reality is that I am homosexual,” Weaver added. “And that I’ve a spouse and two children who I really like. My incapacity to reconcile these two truths has led to this agonizing place.”
Jan. 31, 2021
The New York Times printed a narrative on Jan. 31 reporting that Weaver has been accused of harassment by 21 males, together with an alleged sufferer who was a minor when Weaver first made contact with him. The Lincoln Challenge disavowed Weaver shortly after.
“John Weaver led a secret life that was constructed on a basis of deception at each degree. He’s a predator, a liar, and an abuser,” the Lincoln Challenge mentioned in an announcement. “We lengthen our deepest sympathies to those that had been focused by his deplorable and predatory conduct. We’re disgusted and outraged that somebody ready of energy and belief would use it for these means.”
Feb. 5, 2021
Horn instructed The New York Times on Feb. 5 that she was leaving The Lincoln Challenge after Weaver’s “grotesque and inappropriate conduct.” The Lincoln Challenge countered by claiming Horn resigned after the group’s board rejected her calls for that included a $40,000-per-month consulting contract and her personal employees.
Days later, Schmidt resigned, claiming he did so to “make room for the appointment of a feminine board member as step one to reform and professionalize the Lincoln Challenge.”
Feb. 15, 2021
The Lincoln Challenge mentioned that it will likely be moving forward with its work whereas it offers with allegations of sexual harassment towards Weaver. The anti-Trump political motion committee mentioned Monday night time that it employed the legislation agency Paul Hastings to analyze the claims.
“The Lincoln Challenge will proceed producing and distributing our well-liked content material and commentary whereas these critiques are being carried out and we’re working at full capability,” the group mentioned in a statement.
Feb. 16, 2021
The Day by day Beast dropped co-founder Wilson from its “The New Irregular” podcast amid the Weaver fallout on Tuesday.
Wilson’s co-host, pundit Molly Jong-Quick, made the announcement on the prime of the present on Tuesday. Jong-Quick was an unpaid adviser to the Lincoln Challenge and mentioned she had resigned from that put up as properly in yet one more departure from the embattled political motion committee.
Fox Information’ Vandana Rambaran, Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Ronn Blitzer and David Rutz contributed to this report.