While the official leadership of the Missouri GOP has remained silent, a collection of the most high-profile women in the party are no longer willing to stay silent in the aftermath of the latest abuse allegations involving former Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.
Most of the state’s top Republican leadership has called on Greitens to step out of the U.S. Senate race, but the Missouri Republican State Committee as a whole has remained silent.
“If you hit a woman or a child, you belong in handcuffs, not the United States Senate. It’s time for Eric Greitens to leave this race,” Senator Josh Hawley previously said.
Greitens, who resigned after only 17 months in office while engulfed in scandal, has recently been overcome with new allegations. Greitens has been accused by his now ex-wife, the former first lady, of being physically abusive toward her and their children and of manipulating and coercing her into publicly supporting his political ambitions.
“In early June 2018, I became afraid for my safety and that of our children at our home, which was fairly isolated, due to Eric’s unstable and coercive behavior,” Sheena Greitens said in an affidavit. “This behavior included physical violence toward our children, such as cuffing our then three-year-old son across the face at the dinner table in front of me and yanking him around by his hair.”
Sheena Greitens described an incident that she said occurred in April 2018 when Eric Greitens knocked her down and took her cell phone, wallet, and keys. She said he later admitted to doing so in order to “prevent me from doing anything that might damage his political career.” She also said her son came home from a visit with Eric Greitens once “with a swollen face, bleeding gums, and loose tooth” that later had to be surgically removed. She said the son said Eric Greitens had hit him; Eric Greitens told her they had been “roughhousing,” Sheena Greitens said.
“I served as Treasurer of the MRP under then-Governor Greitens and continue in that role today, so I take no joy in saying this publicly. Revelations that Eric Greitens physically abused his then-wife, former Missouri First Lady Sheena Greitens, and that he physically beat their three year-old son are the most serious I’ve seen in 30 years of volunteering to elect conservatives in Missouri,” Pat Thomas said in a statement Wednesday.
“I feel these revelations raise the question of whether Eric Greitens has the values and moral character to represent Missourians in the U.S. Senate. Accusers have testified under oath and under the penalty of perjury about Greitens’ crimes, including towards our former First Lady, whom I hold in high esteem. Repeatedly given opportunities to defend himself under oath, Greitens has always declined.
In addition to lacking the values to represent Missourians, recent, credible polling indicates an Eric Greitens nomination could hand a Senate seat to national Democrats in a state Donald Trump won by 15 points. Highly-respected Trafalgar Group shows Greitens tied with both largely-unknown Democrats. Missouri Scout polling (subscription) also shows Eric Greitens as the weakest general election candidate by a wide margin. An independent poll featured recently in Politico also showed Greitens in danger of losing to Democrats.
I Strongly believe Eric Greitens has serious personal issues that need to be resolved before he should be elected to any office. If Republicans nominate Greitens, they seriously risk losing their credibility as the champions of family values issues.
Missourians need to say ‘no’ to Eric Greitens.”
Thomas is not the only one to speak out against Greitens; Carla Young, who is on the MRP executive committee, has also refused to remain silent.
“This is not the scandal-ridden leadership we need in Washington. No more political spin needed by our former Governor. I wish the best for our former First Lady Sheena Greitens and these innocent boys who can only suffer from this sad situation,” Young said. “I am speaking as a private individual & do not speak officially for any political body as I ask Eric Greitens to exit the campaign for the good of his family & our state.”
However, it was Kay Hoflander, the state committeewoman for the 21st district and past chairwoman of the party, who was first to speak out publicly in a statement on Tuesday.
“As a Christian woman, a wife and mother, and as a woman active in the Missouri Republican Party, State Committee, and as the immediate past chair of MOGOP, I find the allegations against former Governor Eric Greitens deeply disturbing on both personal and professional levels. If true of course. He must step out of the race for U.S. Senate,” Hoflander said.
“Two women have now gone under oath, one giving sworn testimony and one in a sworn affidavit. Both could face committing perjury il they were found to be knowingly and intentionally lying. They certainly would not lie, one would think, as they swore what they were telling was the truth,” she continued. “What reasonable, even what sane, stable person would run for office under these circumstances? I call on him to step aside and get his life in order and not have his personal troubles ‘be’ the story.”
When contacted, the Missouri Republican Party did not have a comment.
Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times, owner of the Clayton Times in Clayton; SEMO Times in Poplar Bluff; and host of the only statewide political television show, This Week in Missouri Politics.