by Julie Kelly
The Trump era has spawned an abundance of show clowns clowning either for or against the president. One can’t help but wonder what the country did to deserve the likes of Anthony Scaramucci, Michael Avenatti, and Ana Navarro all foisted upon us at the same time.
Not since the days of James Carville and Mary Matalin has a power couple like the Conways and, unfortunately at least one of their children, epitomized the political war tearing families, friendships, businesses, and the overall country apart.
So it’s appropriate—and gratifying—to see the Lincoln Project, the poisonous outlet co-founded by George Conway, the corpulent husband of Kellyanne, now drowning in its own droppings amid confirmation of one of Washington’s worst kept secrets; co-founder John Weaver is a closet homosexual who preys on young men, some as young as 14. (Karl Rove admitted in an interview Monday that he’s known about Weaver’s behavior since 1988.)
According to a New York Times exposé published over the weekend, nearly two dozen men said Weaver, who is married with two children, “for years sent unsolicited and sexually provocative messages online to young men, often while suggesting he could help them get work in politics.” Weaver mostly attempted to lure his prospects via direct messaging on Twitter.
The “longtime Republican strategist,” as the Times described Weaver, helped manage the failed presidential campaigns of the late Senator John McCain in both 2000 and 2008 and former Ohio Governor John Kasich in 2016. But Weaver and his fellow Lincoln Project lowlifes weren’t bolstered by the media and funded by rich Democratic donors because of winning campaign records or savvy political skills or telegenic good looks.
No, like other NeverTrump shticks—a “former” Republican or “disgruntled” conservative acts as the anti-Trump foil on CNN or in the Washington Post, as I detail in my book—Lincoln Project hoodlums revitalized stalled careers by relentlessly and viciously attacking the former president, his family, his administration, and his supporters in Congress.
This slime machine includes losing campaign advisor Rick Wilson and losing campaign manager Steve Schmidt; they spend most of their time making threats on Twitter and cable news shows. Last month, Schmidt warned he will punish pro-Trump Republicans. “They will not write their history,” Schmidt claimed. “We will write their history. And their shame will last forever. They are carved like etching into granite, granite, onto history’s list of villains in the country.”
Twitter locked the Project’s account in November after it doxxed two lawyers representing Trump in election fraud lawsuits. Ben Howe, the group’s video editor, was fired last July for a series of sexist tweets. These are not good people.
In fact, the Lincoln Project, formed in late 2019, represents everything that’s toxic about American politics at this moment. It’s a seek-and-destroy mission executed by the very worst sort of people—people not content to play the traditional role of political agitator but instead are the sort who get off harassing, threatening, and bullying people into silence or submission.
No one at the Lincoln Project offers anything of value; they’re cruel and stupid, ugly on the inside and out. While they undoubtedly consider themselves fierce political assassins, Lincoln Project lowlifes are more like aging trailer park prostitutes who’ll perform any trick for cash and affection.
Which, of course, is exactly what happened. The Lincoln Project is the toast of the Trump-hating Acela corridor; AdAge magazine ranked the Project as the fourth-most influential marketer of 2020 for its vicious videos targeting the president and his supporters. Wilson, Schmidt, and Conway can be found almost any time of day spewing their venom on CNN or MSNBC. They’ve written books and earn speaking fees. It’s only a matter of time until one is named an adjunct professor at Georgetown. All supported Joe Biden for president.
Fawning profiles in Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and on “60 Minutes” have helped validate these lowlifes. They are the news media’s go-to source for a vicious quote about Trump or anyone in his orbit.
And their ugly antics have paid off handsomely. In its first year, the Lincoln Project raised more than $87 million. (Although they describe themselves as “conservatives,” Open Secrets, a campaign contribution watchdog, describes the Lincoln Project as “liberal.”) Top donors are linked to other Democratic political action committees or dark money groups controlled by Democratic operatives such as the Sixteen Thirty Fund. Hedge fund guru Stephen Mandel contributed $1 million as did Gordon Getty, son of J. Paul Getty. Plenty of financial support from Tinseltown, too; David Geffen donated $500,000 and Jeffrey Katzenberg gave $100,000.
But only a little more than half the money raised by the Lincoln Project last year was spent directly supporting or opposing candidates based on their loyalty to Donald Trump. According to disclosure statements, the Project spent $33.8 million against President Trump and roughly $12 million on several 2020 Senate races. (Of the 11 Senate Republicans targeted by the Lincoln Project for supporting Trump, only four, including Georgia Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, lost.)
More than $24 million has been paid to Summit Strategic Communications, a consulting firm owned by Reed Galen, the thin-resuméd treasurer for the Lincoln Project. A media firm owned by Ron Steslow, a Lincoln Project alum, raked in $20.3 million. The PAC has been skewered on social media and satire shows for its massive overhead expenses.
With Trump out of the White House, Lincoln Project grifters are trying to keep the profitable gig afloat; their new targets including Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) as well as the media’s latest Republican villain, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). But we can hope the Weaver controversy, in addition to questions about how donations have been spent and individual financial problems, will start to diminish the project’s influence. Conway and others now are attempting to distance themselves from Weaver and claim ignorance about his “secret” life of using his position to sexually harass young men.
The Lincoln Project not only defiles the name of a great American president, it routinely defecates on the great American tradition of politics. Trump once called NeverTrumpers “human scum.” They are, in fact, human sludge. It’s not an overstatement to say the country would be better off without them.
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Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. After college graduation, she served as a policy and communications consultant for several Republican candidates and elected officials in suburban Chicago. She also volunteered for her local GOP organization. After staying home for more than 10 years to raise her two daughters, Julie began teaching cooking classes out of her home. She then started writing about food policy, agriculture, and biotechnology, as well as climate change and other scientific issues. She graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1990 with a degree in communications and minor degrees in political science and journalism. Julie lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, two daughters, and (unfortunately) three dogs.