There was a time when news of an affair could immediately torpedo a political career. These days, though, it tends to spark a lot of screaming on both sides of the political spectrum. Results to be determined later.
This time, the pol in question is Eric Greitens. When Greitens first tossed his hat in the ring, he seemed a shoo-in political winner: Rhodes scholar, Navy SEAL, founder of a Veterans charity. He was, also, a “proud husband and father.”
Now, that promising second career may be crashing down around him. Greitens has been accused of having an affair with another woman, then photographing her and threatening to publish the photo if she went public about their relationship. Now, the attorney general is being asked to investigate, and a group of fellow Republicans are calling the allegations “shocking and concerning.”
Greitens, who was elected governor of Missouri, is having some trouble finding purchase in this narrative. He’s already admitted to the infidelity, and he has asked that he be allowed to deal with this matter privately with his family.
That might have been the case if the allegations of threats and blackmail had not been attached to the story. Now, local St. Louis media is all over it, investigating and reporting, leading other news outlets outside the state to pick up the narrative. That part of the case is strengthened by a recording the ex-husband of the mistress made while speaking to his ex-wife. In that conversation, she divulged further details, which the man has given to the press.
These could possibly lead to further charges well outside the embarrassment of being caught in an affair, and it’s that part of the story that may have major implications for a man who already reserved his Presidential campaign website.
While, in the current political climate, it’s anyone’s guess whether an affair would torpedo a career, the willingness to forgive blackmail and other potentially criminal behavior may be in shorter supply. But there’s more…
The woman involved in the affair said, after they broke it off, Greitens continued to come around her place of work. She asked him, repeatedly, not to, but he persisted, upsetting her and her coworkers. Not the ideal image for a trusted political candidate.
An attorney for the ex-husband said the FBI had been contacting him. At this time, the FBI says it’s not investigating. But, even if he never sees legal trouble from this incident, Greitens certainly has a tough road ahead to re-energize any hopes of a further political career.