Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Cofounder of GOP Group Sent Sexual Messages to Young Men, 14-Year-Old


The high-profile group of center-right Republicans known as the Lincoln Project was hit with scandal this weekend after 21 men told The New York Times that co-founder John Weaver sent them unsolicited sexual messages. One man received suggestive messages from Weaver when he was only 14 and more aggressive missives upon turning 18, according to the Times.

Accusations of harassment and inappropriate behavior by Weaver — a former campaign strategist for Republican presidential candidates like late Sen. John McCain and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich — were mentioned in earlier stories this month from Axios and The American Conservative.

When the first reports emerged, Weaver came out publicly and apologized for "inappropriate" messages that may have made some men "uncomfortable," but he insisted the communication was consensual. Weaver, 61, is married to a woman and has two children. 

Two men quoted in the Times piece did not describe consensual behavior, rather unwanted, aggressive texts and DMs urging them to send pics and details about their bodies to an influential man who held much sway in Washington, D.C. At least two of the men had aspirations in the political realm and claim Weaver dangled career opportunities in exchange for sexual favors.

Cole Trickle Miele, now 19, began receiving DMs from Weaver six years ago after the teenager followed the Republican strategist on Twitter. After turning 18, Weaver sent this to Miele back in March: “I want to come to Vegas and take you to dinner and drinks and spoil you!!” and in a another message, “Hey my boy! resend me your stats! or I can guess! if that is easier or more fun!”

Only one of the communications between Weaver and the 21 men led to a physical encounter and it was consensual, according to the younger man involved. The Lincoln Project said Weaver never worked in an office and was not physically around their staffers. The group — which spent millions on advertising to oust Trump and includes figures like George Conway, husband of former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway — disavowed Weaver and called him a "predator."

Weaver has been on medical leave from the Lincoln Project since last summer and will not return to the group. Officials there claim they only learned about the accusations this month, though another of the group's founders, Steve Schmidt, said he and others knew Weaver had relationships with men but believed they were consensual and not inappropriate. The American Conservative's Ryan Girdusky tweeted this was untrue and the group was made aware of the charges when he was reporting on his story last year.

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