Governor Eric Greitens (R-Missouri) just announced his resignation from office following a buildup of scandals and investigations.
Gov. Greitens held office for a little over a year after being elected to the position in 2016 and getting sworn in as governor in January of 2017. In January of 2018, Gov. Greitens initially admitted to having an extramarital affair with a hairstylist in St. Louis in 2015, while he was running for office. The hairstylist later confided to investigators that Greitens initiated unwanted sexual contact with her at his home, and that he took a photo of her without her consent as a way of blackmailing her into silence.
“Everyone will know what a little whore you are,” Greitens reportedly said after taking the photo, according to the alleged victim’s testimony.
At the time of the publication of the report, Gov. Greitens sought to discredit investigators, calling the inquiry into his affair “a political witch hunt.” However, in April, the governor was indicted on charges of felony computer tampering, in relation to allegations he used the donor list for his nonprofit to solicit funds for his gubernatorial campaign. Last week, Greitens was subpoenaed to appear before a special House committee investigating the governor to determine whether or not he should be impeached.
“This ordeal has been designed to create an incredible amount of strain on my family,” Gov. Greitens said in his resignation speech on Tuesday. “It’s clear for the forces that oppose us there is no end in sight.”
“I have not broken any laws or committed any offense worthy of this treatment,” he added.
Greitens was quickly seen as one of the country’s conservative rock stars, signing into law multiple pro-business, anti-labor policies after taking office often seen on Republican wish lists. Conservative publication National Review chronicled some of the Missouri governor’s earliest accomplishments in his first four months on the job, calling him a “rising star” in the Republican Party. That same article showed that he registered the domain “ericgreitensforpresident.com,” hinting at presidential ambitions:
[Greitens] signed a law that made Missouri the nation’s 28th right-to-work state. In another blow to unions, he revised project-labor agreements, cutting the cost of public construction. He enacted tort reform and approved a bill to ease restrictions on rideshare companies such as Lyft and Uber. He set in motion a couple of endeavors whose political payoff will come in a year or two: the creation of a tax commission whose goal is to propose a simplified code and lower rates, and the launch of an 18-month review of every state regulation.
In a phone interview, state senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City) — whom Republican lawmakers unsuccessfully pressured to resign last year in the wake of a quickly deleted comment on social media hoping for the assassination of President Trump (she was ultimately censured)– said that there’s one big difference between what she did and what Gov. Greitens did.
“He committed misdemeanors and felonies. I was exercising my First Amendment rights,” Sen. Chappelle-Nadal told Grit Post. “So there’s no way you can compare someone who is an adulterer and possibly forcing sex on a person with exercising my right to speak my opinion in public.”
Greitens will be replaced by Lieutenant Governor Michael Parson on June 1, though Chappelle-Nadal said there will be debate among legislators about whether or not to call a special election, which she estimates would cost taxpayers approximately $7 million.
Logan Espinoza is a freelance contributor specializing in economic issues. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and daughter. Contact him at logan DOT espinoza AT yahoo DOT com.