Missouri's scandal-plagued governor, Eric Greitens, is finally stepping down.
Eric Greitens, Missouri’s Republican governor, finally announced his resignation Tuesday, but only after spending a couple of months sinking his own party with scandal.
During a hastily called press conference, Greitens announced he was stepping down, effective Friday, June 1. In an angry and defiant statement, Greitens insisted that he has not broken any laws, despite the felony charges against him.
“This is not the end of our fight,” Greitens said. “The time has come, though, to tend to those who have been wounded and to care for those who need us most. So for the moment, let us walk off the battlefield with our heads held high.”
He insisted that he has a “good and proud story to tell our children.”
He did not answer any questions after concluding his remarks.
The announcement comes weeks after the Republican-controlled state legislature began to consider impeaching him, and on the same day that a judge ruled that Greitens must comply with two subpoenas involving campaign money, as part of the felony charge for campaign-related computer tampering.
In addition to that felony charge, Greitens was also facing credible accusations of sexual assault. He claimed he had engaged in a consensual extramarital affair, despite the very graphic and specific allegations from the woman who said he assaulted her.
The governor’s mounting scandals, and his refusal to leave office, created massive headaches for other Republicans in the state. Josh Hawley, the leading Republican seeking to challenge Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, held a significant lead over McCaskill in March, but after Greitens’ indictments, McCaskill now leads Hawley.
Republicans had believed McCaskill’s seat was one of their best shots at picking off a Democratic seat in the Senate, and key to holding the chamber in a midterm that is shaping up to be a wipeout.
But Grietens’ extended scandals and legal troubles have been a drag on the whole party in his state. Now that Greitens is finally, if belatedly, giving up his seat, his party will no doubt hope to put his sordid tenure behind them and move on.
But given that he still faces felony charges related to his campaign and the case of his alleged sexual assault has been referred to a special prosecutor — he could continue to inflict damage on his party even out of office.