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One year after the revelation of the predations of the co-founder of the Lincoln Project, the anti-Trump group sees its influence waning

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One year after the revelation of the predations of the co-founder of the Lincoln Project, the anti-Trump group sees its influence waning

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It has been a year since Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver was identified in an article by journalist Ryan Girdusky as an online sex stalker dating back several years.

It was the start of a downward spiral for the super PAC founded by disgruntled Republicans who wanted to defeat Donald Trump. Once a media darling and hailed as a supposedly conservative outfit, its influence and fundraising waned in 2021 after such a successful 2020 its co-founders had plans to create one of the largest media companies in the world.

“I always thought it was a scam,” Girdusky told Fox News Digital. “These are people desperately hungry for money, attention and influence. Sadly, they still have some relevance.”

A year later, it’s still up and running and has a boisterous social media presence, pushing Democrats apart and shredding Republicans to shreds, but many of its original members have left and criticize their old organization. Her cable news mentions have declined sharply, her involvement in the year’s most important election has been a disaster, and when one of her senior advisers went on “The View” in November, she failed. was not even identified in the program as part of the group.

LINCOLN PROJECT FORMER CEO APPEARING JAN. 6 AT THE NAZI BEER HALL PUTSCH FIRE THE FIRE

When co-founder Rick Wilson admitted late last year that he wanted Trump to be the 2024 Republican candidate again, despite the group’s view that he was an undisputed threat to the country’s security, he was put on the defensive as accusations of the “PAC scam” began to spread. flow again.

“I don’t think these are people who want to go easy on sunset,” Girdusky said. “These are attention-loving people who love the game of politics. It’s very addicting to be in this profession… None of them can get back into Republican politics, and very few of them. they would be welcome in Democratic politics, so they have to milk that as long as they can. “

Girdusky’s article published on January 11 was just the tip of the iceberg about Weaver, as later reports showed his co-founders were aware of the accusations of harassing young gay men months before they don’t say so; One of the people Weaver contacted was 14 when they first communicated online. Weaver was suspending employment opportunities and social media influence while making suggestive and explicit remarks that left his victims uncomfortable and isolated.

THE SPECTACULAR FALL OF THE LINCOLN PROJECT: A TIMELINE

Weaver was condemned by his co-founders and stepped down last year, but things only got worse, as a flood of stories ensued about the self-operation and the bad organizational financial management – Project Lincoln alone paid co-founder Reed Galen’s consulting firm $ 27 million in 2020 – and a toxic work environment. Co-founder Steve Schmidt was widely criticized when he said he would open the group’s books for audit when the Trump organization did, and it was later revealed that he ordered Kurt Bardella, now Democratic adviser who resigned from the group and called for its dissolution, to publish the private messages of co-founder Jennifer Horn with a reporter in an attempt to embarrass him.

Former Lincoln Project executive director Sarah Lenti, now a harsh critic of the organization, said things were falling apart internally long before Weaver’s story came to light. As four of its co-founders – including Weaver – gathered at Schmidt’s home shortly before election day 2020 with dreams of creating a media empire, according to the New York Times, other members of the organization felt cut off from the loop.

FORMER LINCOLN PROJECT ADVISOR TOM NICHOLS MISSES AMERICANS CONCERNED BY INFLATION AND HIGH GAS PRICES

“Things were bad going before election night,” Lenti told Fox News Digital. “There were things going on internally that showed a real division within the organization… It had all become very selfish.”

She compared it to a family “on the verge of divorce”.

Bad headlines took their toll after the group received media adoration in 2020 for taking on Trump, frequently having their ads promoted on CNN, MSNBC and elsewhere, and even achieving a gushing “60-minute” profile. On CNN, it was only mentioned 49 times in 2021, compared to 157 times in 2020 according to Grabien Media research, including reruns.

One year after the revelation of the predations of the co-founder of the Lincoln Project, the anti-Trump group sees its influence waning

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On MSNBC, the difference was even more glaring. In 2020, where he received consistently admiring coverage from hosts like Nicolle Wallace and Brian Williams, he was mentioned 956 times. In 2021, that number fell to 285, more than a third of which was in January alone, though he continued to receive promotion for his anti-Republican ads from Williams and Wallace.

A drop in fundraising was to be expected in a year without an election, but Project Lincoln has fallen from nearly $ 90 million in 2020 to just $ 12.1 million in the first half of 2021 according to federal documents – he hasn’t posted his second half earnings yet.

THE DEMOCRATS, ‘NEVER TRUMPERS’ SPEAKING ON AN ‘INEFFECTIVE’ LINCOLN PROJECT: POLITICO

Attention to the group in October and November was dramatically negative as it took responsibility for a dramatically failed political coup in the closely watched Virginia race for governor.

The Lincoln Project has gone to great lengths to defeat Republican Glenn Youngkin, describing him as a closet racist leading a divisive “southern strategy” campaign. However, no one was prepared as to how far it would go to try to keep this label sticking.

The group sent five tiki-torch-wielding people in front of Republican Glenn Youngkin’s bus in Charlottesville days before election day, in a bid to conjure up footage of the infamous White Nationalist rally in 2017. He took responsibility of the stunt after images of alleged Youngkin supporters went viral and many people suspected a hoax. Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s campaign condemned the smear effort after Project Lincoln confessed, but by then some of McAuliffe’s own employees and even some members of the liberal media had broadcast the footage as supposed evidence that Youngkin’s campaign attracted racists.

THE LINCOLN PROJECT IS RATED AS “DISTURBING HACKS” TO ORCHESTRATE A VIRAL CANNULAR TO LET YOUNGKIN KNOW

The stunt has been widely described as desperate and punchy; even Schmidt called him “recklessly stupid” in a subsequent interview and distanced himself from any involvement. Lincoln Project adviser Stuart Stevens tried to defend him in an interview with CNN, saying it was part of an effort to slap Youngkin for not having condemned Trump enough for his rhetoric around Charlottesville.

One year after the revelation of the predations of the co-founder of the Lincoln Project, the anti-Trump group sees its influence waning

 |  Latest News Headlines

A small group of protesters dressed as ‘Unite the Right’ rally participants with tiki torches stand on a sidewalk as Virginia Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin arrives on his bus for a campaign event at a Mexican restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States on Oct 29, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst
(REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst)

Youngkin beat McAuliffe the following week, and the Lincoln Project received considerable mockery for the embarrassing distraction of the final days of the race.

“They’ve lost their minds,” Lenti said.

A Politico report late last year summed up the group’s woes: “But now everyone continues to roll their eyes on Project Lincoln and fear they are fighting their way for the reemergence of the former president … Agents across the spectrum are now saying the group is at best ineffective and lavish, at worst counterproductive. “

When Lincoln Project Senior Advisor Tara Setmayer appeared on “The View” in November, shortly after the election debacle, she clearly was not identified as part of the group, either by co-workers. animators or graphics on the screen.

Instead, Setmayer, who had not worked in Congress since 2013, was referred to as a former House GOP staff member. The only mention of Project Lincoln during her two-day stay came from Setmayer herself.

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The Lincoln Project did not return a request for comment.

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