The first blush of the establishment types who resented, despised and/or feared Donald Trump did not take long to materialize. Moments after the eventual 45th president descended that escalator at Trump Tower almost seven years ago, the resistance formed against him. But in this case, we’re not talking about leftists and Democrats who would be expected to paint him as the enemy. No, we are referring to Bush-era neoconservative Republicans threatened by Trump’s meteoric rise to the top of the GOP. They were the ones who wailed the loudest, affronted by this bombastic billionaire laying siege to their turf.
Enter the Lincoln Project.
From the start, this group of Trump rejectionists was intent on not just publicly opposing Trump but unleashing vicious personal attack ads and going full scorched earth on leftist outlets like MSNBC in an effort to derail his candidacy, and later his presidency. All along, the attacks centered on Trump’s character, with the clear implication that the Lincolnites were speaking from the moral high ground – despite their own long histories of producing attack ads many considered morally reprehensible. But why else would they make such a spectacle of signaling their virtue to wound a party to which they had long belonged?
The Not-So-Fab Four
Well, to borrow from Shakespeare, this group of embittered losers doth protest far too much. The foursome of Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt, George Conway, and John Weaver – all former GOP operatives – co-founded the only organization in memory dedicated to the single proposition of destroying one man and removing him from office. Of course, they went on to join Hillary Clinton (and later Joe Biden) and the Trump-deranged crowd in defaming everyone who voted for Trump, or had the temerity to back his presidency, or even to support a single thing he did or said.
They were certainly able to profit from their savage attacks on Trump. The Lincoln Project raised some 90 million dollars for its singular anti-Trump messaging, but now their chickens are finally coming home to roost, and they have seen the spotlight turn to their own severe indiscretions. An exhaustive exposé published by the Associated Press unmasked a cascading scandal surrounding the group, reporting that “in June 2020, members of the organization’s leadership were informed in writing and in subsequent phone calls of at least 10 specific allegations of harassment against co-founder John Weaver, including two involving Lincoln Project employees.”
The Unsavory Lincoln Logs
Weaver “sent unsolicited and sexually provocative messages online” to as many as 21 men, according to The New York Times, which added that, in some cases, Weaver “offered professional and personal assistance in exchange for sex,” and was the subject of at least ten specific allegations of harassment. When co-founder Jennifer Horn quit following these revelations, the group released defamatory private information about her on Twitter, very possibly violating federal law.
That led to co-founder George Conway abandoning the sinking ship. The one-time conservative activist, whose hatred of Trump was so intense that he insisted on continuing to publicly condemn the 45th president even though his wife Kellyanne was serving as Trump’s senior counselor, has accused the group of criminal activity in the wake of their defamation of Ms. Horn and their efforts to intimidate journalist Amanda Becker, who was writing a piece on the organization’s scandals.
Now, Wilson has dived off the deep end, calling for his supporters to “mow down” independent investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald – whatever that means – for daring to unmask the seamy reality of this group of embittered slash-and-burn down-and-outers. Greenwald authored an article recently describing the organization as run by “life-long scammers, sleaze merchants and con artists” positioning themselves as “noble men of conscience, enabling them to fleece and deceive the public.” And he summed up their state of play:
“They are drowning in allegations of financial scamming, lying to the public and to their own employees about what they knew about a predator at the top level of their organization, and engaging in open warfare among themselves playing out in public in the pettiest yet most vindictive ways.”
What may turn out to be the most revealing episode about the group’s message and tactics, and ultimately its final public disgrace, was when it unleashed a fake tiki-torch demonstration outside a rally for then-gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, in a transparent attempt to link the eventual governor to Trump and 2017 events in Charlottesville, VA. The phony gathering revealed just how low Lincolners are willing to go to demonstrate their raw hatred for not just Trump, but anyone who refuses to specifically condemn the man. To many observers, perhaps most, the Lincoln Project had the smell of revenge profiteering from the get-go. Embittered has-beens crying into the darkness has never had much appeal to the general public, and like most things in life, these hate-filled agents of destruction with a uniquely negative message to share are finally reaping what they have sown.