Eric Greitens, former Missouri governor, announced his resignation from office Tuesday, June 29 due to controversial scandal; the resignation became effective 5 p.m., Friday, June 1. Greiten had held his position since 2016.
Missouri native PSU students spoke out in reaction Greitens’ resignation.
“Well, I’m disappointed to hear about his resignation because I liked his policies and I genuinely liked the guy for his resilience in the face of those who said he couldn’t be successful because he had no prior political experience in politics, but I believe it’s best for Missouri to move forward than to stay on this case,” said Grant Wilson, junior in political science.
Scandal has surrounded the governor since January when an extramarital sexual misconduct allegation surfaced from three years ago, as well as alleged misuse of charity donor lists. Unlike Wilson, Edith Sigler, freshman in music performance, agreed with Greitens’ choice to resign.
“I think it was the best thing for the state that he resigned because it was not only sexual misconduct allegations against him, there were also allegations against money, his campaign, and non-profit organizations, donor lists, and transparency in terms of a text messaging app used with the staff, so there were many allegations against him, so it was definitely best that he resigned,” Sigler said.
Greitens was accused of allegedly using money from charity donor lists to fund his gubernatorial campaign, another issue leading to his resignation. Danielle Rakestraw, junior in social work, also felt the resignation was the best decision.
“I think it was the right move on his part to resign, aside from the sexual assault allegations he was also charged for illegally obtaining money for his campaign, which is one of the main reasons I think he should have resigned,” Rakestraw said.
Greitens initially did not plan to resign from his office, however, until he made a deal with a prosecutor from St. Louis to drop the felony charge for the alleged misuse of the charity donor list if he resigned.
“I do think it’s interesting he resigned the same day that he was ordered to release the donor list,” Sigler said. “There’s a Polk county judge, I think, that ordered that a non-profit organization—many non-profit organizations, actually—had been backing Greitens’ policy goals, and so the judge ordered that the non-profit organization turn over its records to the house so that they can look at any coordination between the non-profit and Greitens’ campaign, and then Greitens resigned later that day, and of course he didn’t say anything that that was related, but it raises some questions.”
Allegations that Greitens had an extramarital affair and then proceeded to blackmail the woman with a naked photograph were brought to light in January, thus causing issues with not only his public face as governor but also with his family.
“I don’t know how much of the allegations part in terms of whether or not it was consensual or not, I don’t know if that’s true, but I do think that it was wrong of him to have had the affair because a lot of his campaign was run on being ethical and high morals and being a family man, and the fact that he ran his campaign on that after he had just had an extramarital affair is not good, especially since he is supposed to be a role model,” Sigler said.
The victim of Greitens’ alleged sexual misconduct stepped forward about the event, detailing what happened. Allegedly, Greitens tied her up in his basement where nonconsensual oral sex was performed, along with a nonconsensual picture taken of her partially naked. The woman then claimed he threatened to blackmail her with the picture if she spoke to anyone about what had happened, as at the time he was running for office.
“I think that the allegations were dismissed, but hearing the testimony from the case it sounds like they were valid,” Rakestraw said.
On Greitens’ last day in office he signed 77 bills, including one that criminalizes revenge porn, which is the act or threatening the act of posting a nude photograph or video of someone without their consent.
Greitens has since resigned from office and Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson will sware in to finish the remaining Greitens’ remaining term until 2021.
“I just hope the people of Missouri will get behind the Lieutenant Governor, Mike Parson, and support him in him stepping into a new office,” Wilson said. “He’s a different guy and he stayed very neutral throughout this whole thing and I respect him for that.”