Steve Schmidt of the Lincoln Project Quits

Steve Schmidt 2012 Shankbone by david_shankbone is marked with CC PDM 1.0

The Lincoln Project was founded by GOP operatives Steve Schmidt, Jennifer Horn and John Weaver. It was all about “principled” conservatism and standing up to President Trump. The Lincoln Project didn’t like Trump’s mean tweets or how rude he was to liberals.

They wanted to play nice and show the deep honor or being an anti-Trump conservative by working with progressives and betraying conservative beliefs one after the other.

In recent weeks that mission started to fall apart, after Weaver was accused by dozens of young men of trying to sexually groom them online and offering jobs in return for gay sex.

The latest misfortune to befall the project now comes as Schmidt himself heads for the exit door, saying that what happened with Weaver brings back bad memories of his own of an abusive situation and that he’s done with the project.

Head in Hands by Alex E. Proimos is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Why Did Schmidt Quit?

In addition to the exposure of Weaver’s years of wrongdoing, there were recently reports showing that Lincoln Project members knew about Weaver’s behavior in 2019 but didn’t do anything to crack down on it.

Jennifer Horn recently quit as well and her direct messages with a report expressing her disgust were released publicly.

In a statement explaining his decision to head for the exit door, Schmidt talks about the final straw. As a 13-year-old kid at summer camp he was touched by an older boy when he didn’t want it, an experience which disgusted and enraged him, leading to ongoing problems with depression and anger problems later in life.

It does sound like Schmidt is genuinely messed up and experienced some abusive situation in his past, but the idea that he’s only realizing now just how twisted and hypocritical the Lincoln Project really is, is very hard to buy. This looks more like he’s trying to cover himself and put distance between he and Weaver.

As the FBI looks into what exactly went on at the Lincoln Project and who knew about it, Schmidt himself is not above scrutiny and if large donors start discontinuing funding it’s entirely understandable. If people like Schmidt knew about what Weaver was doing and turned a blind eye to it while morally grandstanding against Trump then it is 100% unacceptable.

‘There is Much Work to be Done’

Schmidt’s resignation includes a lot of details about what he’s been through.

“I am angry because I know the damage that he caused to me, and I know the journey that lies ahead for every young man that trusted, feared and was abused by John Weaver,” Schmidt wrote, adding that his childhood mistreatment at Catholic summer camp ruined his faith and made him have deep trust issues and anger problems.

While Schmidt deserves respect for coming forward about what happened to him, perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned here. When he was touched by a camp official and told the adults, Schmidt says they dealt with it “internally” so that the other boys at camp wouldn’t also be traumatized by such a big incident.

This right there is the problem. Abuse and abusers deserve to be fully publicized, shamed and punished to the fullest extent of the law – particularly ones who abuse and mistreat innocent children and youth. The situation at the Lincoln Project should have been honestly approached from the very beginning and Weaver should have been turfed immediately. Cleaning up the pieces now looks like too little, too late to the rest of us who are observing – even it’s former supporters – because that’s exactly what it is.