The people of Missouri deserve stability and trustworthiness in the state's highest office. Eric Greitens can no longer offer those attributes.
It's time for the circus to end. The Missouri capitol has become a sideshow gawkers view with not admiration and wonder, but with disgust and shame.
To save Missouri from months of distractions and national embarrassment, Gov. Eric Greitens should resign immediately. It's because of Greitens' action that turmoil erupted in the capitol, and his defiant, dodgy response since news broke of his extramarital affair has done nothing to quell the disruption. The people of Missouri deserve stability and trustworthiness in the state's highest office.
Greitens can no longer offer those attributes. Mike Parson, the Lieutenant Governor and first in line to become governor, can.
Important work needs to take place in the capitol. State Board of Education members need approval. A budget is unfinished. Legislation better funding senior programs hangs in the balance.
A chorus of calls for resignation has turned into a din — with people like Missouri's Republican attorney general, Senate majority leader, top GOP donor David Humphreys and several congressional representatives asking the governor to step down.
Lawmakers — and the state as a whole — remain distracted by a governor whose hubris disallows him to act rationally. Greitens, hoping his use of buzz words works like it often does for President Donald Trump, eviscerated a special House committee report that extrapolates on claims that the governor coerced and blackmailed a mistress during his campaign for governor.
Greitens called the report a “political witch hunt” no fewer than five times in a statement minutes before the report went public. It's important to remember that five of the seven committee members are from the same party as the governor.
The woman, in the graphic report, says the former Navy SEAL bound her, ripped her clothing, and coerced her into performing oral sex on him.
How can Missourians even pretend to trust a man accused of such heinous behavior by a woman a group of his own peers deemed credible?
Greitens' behavior since the allegations first became known in January point to leader desperate to cling to power. He won't answer direct questions about criminal behavior — and to be clear, the interest in this case is not about the governor's sex life, but about his potentially illegal actions. His campaign team attacks and villainizes a woman who says she is the victim of sexual abuse. He continues to use an organization that accepts dark money as a machine to undermine investigations. He creates diversions — like releasing a report about economic opportunity zones months ahead of schedule on the eve of the report's release. He refuses to testify before the special committee, shirking an opportunity to present his version of the events. These are not actions of a man whose hands are unsullied.
They are the actions of a man who will do anything to silence the whispers, innuendoes, and allegations that have compounded because of his own behavior.
Throughout the developments revolving around Greitens, we've tried to keep an open mind. When others called for his resignation, we remained silent until more information came to light. Ultimately, we can not assign guilt or innocence to Greitens in his criminal case, and we will never know the absolute truth about his indiscretions. But we can use reasonable judgment to determine his governorship is no longer in the best interest of the state, because the bar for the governor of this fine state is higher than that of an accused sexual predator.
In his campaign, Eric Greitens cast himself as an outsider.
The only person capable of bringing conservative change to Jefferson City.
The knight in shining armor here to save the state from corrupt politicians who lack the moral chutzpah to take Missouri in a better direction.
He is wrong.
He is no different than his description of his predecessors. His refusal to acknowledge that is costing the state dearly.
Greitens is not the only person capable of changing Missouri.
In a statement late Wednesday, Parson said, “All Missourians must continue to stay focused on the task at hand – moving Missouri forward.”
We agree. Missouri must move forward — without the Eric Greitens circus and with Mike Parson.