Steve Schmidt, one of the co-founders of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, resigned on Feb. 12, citing the fallout from the sexual harassment allegations against another co-founder, John Weaver.
“I am resigning my seat on the Lincoln Project board to make room for the appointment of a female board member as the first step to reform and professionalize the Lincoln Project,” Schmidt said in a lengthy statement on Twitter.
In the statement, Schmidt described being sexually abused as a boy by a Boy Scouts camp medic. He said the allegation against Weaver, which include text messages sent to a 14-year-old boy, awakened the trauma he has carried since childhood. Schmidt said he now detests Weaver, believes that Weaver is a predator and a liar, and wishes they never crossed paths.
“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,” Schmidt wrote.
Schmidt apologized to Jennifer Horn, a Lincoln Project co-founder who resigned last week. The project has released the details of Horn’s compensation request when she announced her resignation.
“Jennifer was an important and valuable member of our team. Truth be told, I didn’t interact with Jennifer very often, but I always enjoyed the occasions when we did. She deserved better from me. She deserved a leader who could restrain his anger. I am sorry for my failure,” Schmidt wrote.
At least 21 men have alleged that Weaver harassed them through text messages, some of which implied they could boost their career by reciprocating his approaches. In a statement last month, Weaver admitted to sending “inappropriate” messages and apologized “to the men I made uncomfortable.”
The Lincoln Project is a political action committee run by current and former Republicans. The project endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president and worked to prevent the reelection of President Donald Trump.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, The Lincoln Project raised more than $87 million and spent more than $81 million during the 2019-20 election cycle. The group’s aggressive, blunt ads drew the attention of Democrat strategists, who said the Republicans on the project were fighting harder against Trump than some Democrats.
Schmidt also apologized to Amanda Becker, a report whose direct messages with Horn were posted on the Lincoln Project’s Twitter. Schmidt said they messages came from an anonymous source and said it was a “tremendous misjudgment” to release them.