The anti-Trump Republican group the Lincoln Project, has responded to growing allegations against one of its co-founders John Weaver, who has been accused of making sexual overtures to 21 men online.

According to a New York Times article published on Sunday, Jan. 31, Weaver had made sexual advances to them on the internet, sometimes offering job opportunities for favors.

Weaver, a former aide to the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), was accused by almost two dozen men of sending unwanted messages, with one victim claiming Weaver had begun sending him messages when he was only 14, reported the New York Times.

According to the Times report, Weaver messaged one man that he would, “spoil you when we see each other” and “help you other times. Give advice, counsel, help with bills. You help me … sensually.”

The Lincoln Project responded to the increasing accusations against Weaver in a statement on Sunday, stating they had not been aware of the accusations against Weaver before the online chatter and news reports surfaced. “There was no awareness or insinuations of any type of inappropriate behavior when we became aware of the chatter at the time,” co-founder Steve Schmidt told the Times.

“John Weaver led a secret life that was built on a foundation of deception at every level. He is a predator, a liar, and an abuser. We extend our deepest sympathies to those who were targeted by his deplorable and predatory behavior,” The Lincoln Project wrote.

It added the allegations against Weaver were “beyond anything any of us could have imagined and we are absolutely shocked and sickened by it.”

“Like so many, we have been betrayed and deceived by John Weaver,” the statement added. “We are grateful beyond words that at no time was John Weaver in the physical presence of any member of The Lincoln Project.”

Breitbart reported that according to a tweet from political consultant Ryan James Girdusky, the conservative activist who first broke the story, the group’s statement is “an absolute lie,” and informed his followers the Lincoln Project was well aware of the allegations.

“Members did know,” wrote Girdusky. “Young men approached them about the accusations. Members knew I was writing the story and warned John Weaver.”

Girdusky claims that some of the men had reached out to the group, but had been ignored. Molly Jong-Fast, editor-at-large at the Daily Beast and an adviser for the Lincoln Project, had “heard I had this story back in the early summer. And that it was circulating several outlets” he said. 

In another tweet, Girdusky said there was “silence” after he wrote the article detailing Weaver’s questionable past.

Girdusky’s article, titled “The Lincoln Project’s Predator,” was published on Jan. 11, four days prior to a public statement from Weaver on the situation, reported Breitbart.

In his report on the situation, Girdusky stated that one “young man said that Weaver reached out to him with the promise of a job opportunity. He told Weaver would condescendingly call him ‘my boy.’”

The recipients of the online messages had not become involved in any physical encounters, except for one consensual instance, and none had accused Weaver of unlawful conduct.

“Rather, many of them described feeling preyed upon by an influential older man in the field in which they wanted to work, and believing they had to engage with his repeated messaging or lose a professional opportunity,” The New York Times reported.

Earlier this month on Jan. 15, Weaver had acknowledged he had sent the messages. “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry,” Weaver said. “They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you.”

Revealing he is gay, Weaver said, “I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.