President Donald Trump’s spokeswoman on Friday called allegations of sexual and physical abuse against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens "very concerning."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fielded a question at Friday's press briefing about a letter from GOP state senators to Trump asking him to urge the governor to resign following a legislative report that outlines allegations that Greitens coerced a woman into sex in 2015 and struck her on three occasions.
“I don’t have an official response at this time, but certainly (it’s) something that is very concerning and something that we are taking very seriously,” Huckabee Sanders said.
Greitens has denied allegations of sexual or physical abuse. He has admitted to having a 2015 affair with his alleged victim.
The governor invoked Trump Wednesday ahead of the release of the legislative report, repeatedly saying that he was the victim of a witch hunt in an echo of the president's condemnations of the special investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election.
"This is exactly like what's happening with the witch hunts in Washington, D.C.," Greitens said. "Smearing, lying and attacking people who want to change how things are done is wrong in Washington and it's wrong in Missouri. And people see how this works. They launch attacks, they let accusations fly and then some politicians and irresponsible members of the media fly along."
The White House declined to comment Friday on whether it was appropriate for Greitens to compare his situation to that of the president.
Greitens will go to trial in May on a felony charge of invasion of privacy based on an allegation that he photographed his alleged victim when she was semi-nude without her consent.
He has not specifically denied taking a photo but has maintained his innocence of any illegal behavior since the allegation first become public in January.
His attorneys also said in court Thursday that a video interview with the alleged victim contradicts the additional allegations laid out in the legislative report.
The state’s Republican attorney general, Josh Hawley, has called on Greitens to resign and has said that the alleged behavior is “certainly impeachable.”
Trump joined Hawley, a candidate for U.S. Senate, for a fundraiser in St. Louis last month. Greitens, who made numerous visits to the White House during his first year in office, did not attend.
Republicans from neighboring states have taken notice of the scandal.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican who donated $100,000 to Greitens' 2016 campaign, has called on Greitens to step down. In Kansas, Gov. Jeff Colyer, who is seeking the GOP nomination for the November election, has not yet commented on whether Greitens should remain in office.