Embattled Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is holding out under growing pressure to resign in the wake of abuse allegations by his former mistress.
Missouri Republicans are hoping Greitens will resign in advance of the 2018 midterms in service of the party, but as it stands, the governor appears to have no intention of helping out his fellow GOPers.
“I've been watching this, and you know, I don't see the governor willingly stepping down,” said Rob Schaaf, a Republican state senator who feels so strongly that Greitens should go that he wrote a letter to President Trump this week asking him to urge Greitens to resign. “The longer he stays around, the worst it's going to be for the Republicans. It's guilty by association.”
For Greitens, staying in office means fighting multiple battles. In May, he will face a trial related to an extramarital affair he had with a hair stylist in 2015 and allegations he photographed the woman naked without her consent. On Wednesday, an explosive report written by the Republican-controlled state House was released, detailing how the woman the governor had an affair with says he sexually assaulted her and threatened her.
Greitens' colleagues have also taken issue with the way the governor has attempted to characterize the woman's allegations and their responses to the scandal, indicating they believe the story has credibility.
Greitens has tried to frame the report as a “political witch hunt” against him by the Republican-controlled state House, further alienating people who might come to his defense.
“This is not a witch hunt,” State House Speaker Todd Richardson (R) said Wednesday.
Republicans have taken issue with the lurid details of the woman's accusations but are also concerned with their ability to battle Democrats in the fall.
Beyond the disturbing nature of the allegations, the fear for Republicans is that Greitens's problems bleed over into their attempts to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) this November. She is one of the Senate's most vulnerable incumbents, given that Trump won the state by nearly 19 points. Republicans were thrilled when they got Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley to run.
Missouri Republicans in the thick of the Greitens fallout don't disagree that the governor's problems could sink some of them. Especially since the governor and his scandals aren't likely to go away anytime soon.