Rep. Pat Meehan allegedly sexually harassed a staffer, ruined her career when she rejected him, paid a settlement to her with taxpayers dollars, then blamed the whole thing on stress from trying to repeal Obamacare. The RNC is still backing him.
Of all the Republican House incumbents running for re-election instead of simply retiring in fear of the coming blue wave it is hard to find one less defensible than Pennsylvania Rep. Pat Meehan.
Last weekend, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Meehan settled a sexual harassment case with a congressional staffer for thousands of dollars, on the taxpayers dime, prompting his immediate removal from the House Ethics Committee.
Meehan, who is married, allegedly retaliated against the staffer upon finding out she was in a relationship and uninterested in him. He denies the accusations of harassment and retaliation, but bizarrely insists the staffer is his soulmate, and that if he was rude to her, it was only because he was so stressed from trying to repeal Obamacare last year.
Despite all this, he is stubbornly committed to running for another term, in a congressional district that voted for Hilary Clinton in 2016.
And even more incredibly, the Republican National Committee is still supporting him.
Asked on CNN whether the party would continue to stand behind Meehan and put resources into his race, RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel insisted “theres an investigation going on” and said she needed “to see more details.”
Im going to be out there working to keep majorities in the Senate and the House, she said. I know the country is better off under President Trump and Republican leadership.
Asked again whether the RNC still stands with Meehan, she said, Right now, were going to let the investigations take place, well see everything that happened through the ethics investigation, and then well let the voters decide. And its too early to say.
Chairwoman McDaniel says “it’s too early to say” whether the RNC will continue to support Rep. Meehan, who allegedly used thousands in taxpayer money to settle a sexual misconduct complaint against him by a former aide https://t.co/kCCmcXvMW3 https://t.co/HZqqYzPJrv
CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 24, 2018
This response is not only cowardly, it completely ignores the fact that what Meehan has already admitted to makes his position untenable. He does not deny pursuing an extramarital affair with a staffer, or using federal funds to settle a lawsuit from her. Even if the other allegations were false, that alone merits his resignation.
But the RNC has already lost its credibility on this issue by continuing to stand by Donald Trump, who faces nearly two dozen accusations of sexual harassment and assault, and who had an extramarital affair with a porn star that was hushed up during the 2016 election with a $130,000 payoff. To say nothing of the party’s decision to support Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore after he was credibly accused of child molestation.
The RNC cares more about winning than about ensuring the party has any semblance of moral leadership. The naked opportunism is driving the Republican Party right off a cliff.