Jennifer Horn, co-founder of The Lincoln Project, blasted her colleagues at the anti-Donald Trump Republican group in a blistering Thursday statement.
Horn, who resigned from the organization last week, suggested some people in the group had known about the sexual harassment allegations against co-founder John Weaver long before they were made public by The New York Times in a Jan. 31 exposé.
Horn, the former chairwoman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, also accused her colleagues of refusing to “properly address” the allegations against Weaver after the Times published its article — and said she was “demeaned and lied to” when she challenged the group on its response to the claims.
The Lincoln Project, which was founded by a group of prominent Republican strategists in 2019 in opposition to then-President Trump’s reelection efforts, has come under scrutiny following the Times report, which detailed numerous allegations against Weaver.
The allegations include claims that Weaver, who helped run the presidential campaigns of John McCain and John Kasich, sent sexually suggestive messages to a 14-year-old boy and offered several men personal and professional help in exchange for sex.
In her statement, obtained by Times reporter Danny Hakim, Horn said she’d recently been contacted by some of Weaver’s victims.
These victims “shared very disturbing stories about their interactions” with her former colleague, Horn said. Some of these interactions “apparently started nearly a year ago and, according to these young men, were communicated to others in The Lincoln Project,” she added.
Horn said she “was not aware of these communications or the allegations contained within them” and had been “genuinely shocked” by the revelations.
“When these young men called me after the NY Times story ran they spoke of feeling ignored, hurt that their experiences were being denied, angry that they had been used and lied to, and fearful that they would be targeted again,” Horn wrote. “It was heartbreaking to hear.”
Horn said she had raised “objections and concerns” about the statement that The Lincoln Project had released after the Times story broke ― but was “yelled at, demeaned and lied to” by another co-founder.
The organization said in its statement that it, “like so many,” had been “betrayed and deceived” by Weaver.
“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,” the organization said.
Horn, who had been in the midst of contract negotiations with The Lincoln Project, said she included a “non-negotiable demand” to her counteroffer, which called on the group to “properly address the Weaver issue publicly and issue a call to action to take on sexual harassment and power imbalance/exploitation issues.”
According to Horn, these “suggestions were rejected outright,” prompting her to leave The Lincoln Project.
The group has claimed that Horn resigned after it rejected her financial demands.
The Lincoln Project said last week that Horn had requested “an immediate ‘signing bonus’ payment of $250,000 and a $40,000 per month consulting contract.” She earlier demanded “a board seat on the Lincoln Project, a television show, a podcast hosting assignment, and a staff to manage these endeavors [to] establish immediate and long-term financial security,” the group added.
Horn ― who said she was paid only a “small fraction of what some of my male counterparts did” at The Lincoln Project ― took issue with the group’s characterization of her resignation.
“The organization’s response to my departure was angry, questioning my values and suggesting my departure was financially motivated. To be very clear ― this is patently false and a direct assault on my character, but they will neither intimidate nor silence me,” she said.
“I know these attacks will continue as I speak up,” Horn added.
The Lincoln Project has yet to publicly respond to Horn’s statement.
It said Thursday, however, that it had decided to “retain a best-in-class outside professional” to review Weaver’s time at the organization and “to establish both accountability and best practices going forward.”
“Out of respect for that process, we will have no further comment on issues related to Mr. Weaver during the review’s pendency,” the group said.
The Lincoln Project later tweeted a thread accusing Horn of working with journalist Amanda Becker to publish a “smear job” about the organization, per HuffPost correspondent Yashar Ali. That thread, which the group has since deleted, appeared to contain screenshots of private direct messages between Horn and Becker.
It’s unclear how the organization obtained the screenshots. Horn said she did not consent to the messages being made public.