JOHN Weaver, a co-founder of The Lincoln Project and longtime Republican strategist, has been accused of sending unsolicited, predatory messages to at least 21 men.
Among the messages were some sent to a 14-year-old boy, according to the New York Times, where Weaver allegedly asked about the teen’s body.
Weaver, who worked on John McCain’s presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2008 and helped fund the anti-Donald Trump PAC The Lincoln Project, only had sexual contact with one of the men, which was consensual, according to the outlet.
Many of the others, however, reported feeling preyed upon, according to interviews, as Weaver allegedly suggested that he could get the men jobs in politics in exchange for them engaging with him.
Weaver, 61, who has a wife and two children, issued a statement in mid-January when allegations about him began to gain public attention.
He acknowledged that he had sent “inappropriate” messages, and confirmed that he would not return to The Lincoln Project after going on medical leave in 2020.
He also apologized “to the men I made uncomfortable,” but he said he believed the exchanges to be “consensual.”
He told The Times he had been living a “deeply closeted life.”
Ten of the men The Times interviewed reported getting overtly sexual messages, with some saying Weaver blatantly offered to help the men in exchange for sex.
The Lincoln Project released a statement on Sunday afternoon saying that they are “outraged” by Weaver’s behavior, and that they were unaware of any allegations against him.
“John Weaver led a secret life that was built on a foundation of deception at every level,” the statement says.
“He is a predator, a liar, and an abuser. We extend our deepest sympathies to those who were targeted by his deplorable and predatory behavior.
“We are disgusted and outraged that someone in a position of power and trust would use it for these means.”
Steve Schmidt, another co-founder of The Lincoln Project, said that they heard that Weaver was involved with men over the summer, but they were unaware of “any type of inappropriate behavior” on his part at the time, according to The Times.
The 14-year old that Weaver messaged, Cole Trickle Miele, who is now 19, said he was flattered when Weaver began messaging him on Twitter in 2015 because he was interested in politics.
A few years later, in 2018, Weaver allegedly started sending messages like, “Are you in HS still?” and, “You look older.”
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After Miele turned 18, Weaver allegedly said, “I want to come to Vegas and take you to dinner and drinks and spoil you!!”
Other young adult men also reported getting messages from Weaver asking about their height, weight and whether they were circumcised.
At least two of the men said that Weaver sent them sexual messages and offered work with The Lincoln Project.